183. Book Cover of the Month Award: October 2021

183. Book Cover of the Month Award: October 2021

I know, I know, I’m already somehow six months behind in my monthly lists, reviews and recommendations, and I’m going to work on that.

But in the meantime, here’s another stunning cover to keep you company while you wait, fittingly photographed in the wild.

A birthday gift from my MIL, (no, no, really, it’s OK that you forgot, you’ve got a lot on right now), this was my first introduction to Richard Powers somehow, (although I’m already two down, and planning to work my way through more, not least his recent Pulitzer Prize-winning, President Obama-praised ‘The Overstory’).

Not only did she completely nail the right work, (deep, scientific, environmental, parent-child relationships, subtle and moving), but she managed to supply it in the absolutely gorgeous UK edition (and she still won’t tell me how).

There’s something about UK covers which are almost always more special than the US version, (see below for a comparison), and this Arcimboldo-esque image is a stunner.

The book is, too, although the ending left me a wreck, for obvious reasons for anyone who a) has read it and b) knows me.

Any other authors I’ve missed out on recently?

I’ll be back with proper posts soon, I (almost) promise. There’s about half a year’s worth of buying and reading I have to tell you about.

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Posted by on November 1, 2021 in BOOKS


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182. Book Cover(s) of the Month Award: May 2021

182. Book Cover(s) of the Month Award: May 2021

Anyone who knows me (or has been reading my blog for a while) knows I’m a sucker for a sweeping review of human evolution and psychology, and I’ve already read a few of Mlodinow’s, (his early ‘The Drunkard’s Walk’ even made it into a very early blog when I used to dedicate an entire entry to quotes: remember those days?!)

Since his last few came in a coordinated design (and again, many of you know what a sucker I am for a beautifully designed series), I couldn’t resist pairing ‘The Upright Thinkers’ with his earlier ‘Subliminal,’ (which would have won this award itself if it existed back when I read it in 2017.)

Glossy cover, neon colours, simple and clean – these books look beautiful.

The content, (a sweeping view of pre-historic lizard brain evolution to mini biographies of the geniuses of scientific discovery in the modern age), was right up my street too, making this an easy winner this month.

What brightens your bookshelf?

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Posted by on June 16, 2021 in BOOKS


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181. Books Bought & Read, April 2021…

181. Books Bought & Read, April 2021…

This month was heavy on kids’ books, especially the ever-present Oliver Jeffers, coupled with a hodgepodge (a great word, people should use the word ‘hodgepodge’ more, in my opinion) of plays, short story collections, non-fiction and a novel or two.

Nothing really grabbed me too much this month, apart from the always-novel McSweeeny’s (edition 60), an over-sized, glossy, plastic-covered little number which came with a dedicated photo essay for each short story, and topics varying from African healing in small-town America to tales of father/daughter bonding in Alaska. It introduced me to eight writers I’d never heard, none of whose names I can remember but all of whomI would be happy to read again.

A good portion of my reading consists of ‘kids’ books’ these days, and it was great to share the complete collection of four early Oliver Jeffers stories with my eldest, although ‘Imaginary Fred,’ (his collab with the wonderful Eoin Colfer), was a little too old for my two-year-old, and ‘The Fate of Fausto‘ was just…weird.

I’m not one for a moral stories, but this tale of a strange man convinced to commit suicide by the sea was a little too brutal even for me!

I dug deeper into the (ever-present, concrete-cracking) roots of my adopted New Orleans with some Tennessee Williams, (wonderful, with the movie adaptation lined up for future consumption), and with contemporary chronicler of NOLA life, Jesmyn Ward, (dark, real), as well as reaching further into the African American experience with the already-discussed, gloriously be-covered ‘They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us.

But for the first time in a while there were more disappointments than hidden gems, (an average, yet still enjoyable, Jeff Dyer; a forgettable late Umberto Eco), leaving me hoping that I haven’t lost my touch for picking the right book from the ever-ominous To Read tower.

We’ll see next month.

Books Bought, April 2021

The Accidental (Ali Smith)

Cat On A Hot Tin Roof (Tennessee Williams)

15 minute Arabic: learn in just 12 weeks

Thy Prophets (Robert Jones Jr)

Tennessee Williams 101 (Augustin J Correro)

The Perennial Philolosophy (Aldous Huxley)

My Favorite Thing Is Monsters (Emil Ferris)

Making Mischief: a maurice sendak appreciation (Gregory Maguire)

Brooklyn Was Mine: essays (various)

Sharks In The Time Of Saviors (Kawai Strong Washburn)

Walking New Orleans: 33 horrific neighborhoods, waterfront districts, and recreational wonderlands (Barri Bronston)

Mcsweeney’s Quarterly Concern, volume 63


Books Read, April 2021 (highly recommended books in bold)

Numero Zero (Umberto Eco)

Imaginary Fred (Eoin Colfer & Oliver Jeffers)

The Fate Of Fausto: a painted fable (Oliver Jeffers)

Mcsweeney’s Quarterly Concern, volume 60

Le Petit Prince: d’après l’œuvre d’Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (Joann Sfar)

I’m Not Here To Give A Speech (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)

52 Ways Of Looking At A Poem: a poem for every day of the week (Ruth Padel)

The Boy: his stories and how they came to be (Oliver Jeffers)

Salvage The Bones (Jesmyn Ward)

The Colour Of Of Memory (Geoff Dyer)

They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us (Hanif Abdurraqim)

Cat On A Hot Tin Roof (Tennessee Williams)

Myth: a very short introduction (Robert A. Segal)

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Posted by on May 26, 2021 in BOOKS


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