Author: joycemay (page 4 of 48)

Six books by non British authors

This year one of my reading resolutions was to read more books by Japanese authors. I find them to be – the ones I’ve read anyway – gentle, fascinating and beautifully written and I wanted more of the same.

In this round up I have included four books by Japanese authors and I’ve also added two more books by non UK authors as they just sound so amazing.

EXIT WEST by Mohsin Hamid

This has been all over social media and i cant wait to give it a go. Its written by a now quite famous Indian author.

The next four are by Japanese authors

The Housekeeper and the Professor

 by Yoko Ogawa

A really pretty little floppy book with shiny cover and a gorgeous premise

Sweet Bean Paste by Durian Sukegawa

I heard about this on Ariel Bissett’s channel, its another gentle, sweet sounding story

The Nakano Thrift Shop by Hiroki Kawakami

Another from Ariel’s channel. She has the best recommendations.  I have started this and its a bit slower than i like but I find the Japanese way of life endlessly fascinating.

What I talk about when I talk about running by Haruki Murakami

Yep you guessed it I saw this on Ariel’s channel too! A strange little book and one I would enjoy more if i was a runner myself but I shall persevere.

Inside out & back again by Thanhha Lai

This is a recommendation from Russell over at Ink & Paper blog. Its written in poetry form with very few words per page and comes in a gorgeous shiny, floppy edition with an amazing cover. Thanhha is a Vietnamese author.

I’m very much an armchair traveler so these books will transport me round the world to places i’d never otherwise visit.

February book haul

Yes, its happened again. Proof that i have no control when it comes to buying books.

I also now have a very messy bookcase which needs sorting, badly!

Right lets get down to this shall we?

No your eyes don’t deceive you and yes, that is a book series. The Broken Earth series by N.K. Jemisin.

I have lost count of how many times The Fifth Season has appeared on my YouTube favourite’s channels. I really wanted to see for myself what was going on.

I actually bought Book 2 first as Amazon were selling it for £2, yes just £2! so i snapped it up then…

I found that book 3 was also £2 so i snapped that up too.

Book 1 was actually full price but even put together the whole series comes to just a tenner! Bargain of the day/week/month/year or what?

I have been waiting for The Spaceman of Bohemia to arrive in paperback form for months so it was good to get that and then i saw Exit West  was out and i have not heard a bad thing said about that anywhere. My god the cover is gorgeous too eh? (see featured image next to this post)

This duplicates a couple of the books but it also shows the most gorgeous graphic novel i’ve ever owned. The warmest colour is blue by Julie Maroh, translated by Ivanka Hahnenberger. It is full of muted browns and greys with the odd hint of colour, mainly blue obviously and is just so beautifully drawn.

I would really love to have a graphic novel collection so this may be the kickstart i need.

 

 

Poems for a world gone to sh*t – Review

This was lovely surprise bookmail from Quercus a few days ago.  They are a fabulous publisher who have been very kind to me over the years, so a big thank you to them.

Poetry is something I really enjoy and a little book like this to dip in and out of is always welcome.

Hey you have a book to review! Whats it called?

Poems for a world gone to sh*t

Who wrote it?

No one author, Its a compilation of poems, old and new

Whats it about?

Poems to make life better in this messed up world we live in right now

Now for the important bits, did you like it? (be honest now)

Its fantastic! I do love discovering new poets works as well as having a special old favourite poem just at my fingertips when i need a lift.

Gimme the Pros?

Its set out into separate chapters e.g

1. What the f**k?

2. get me the f**k out of here…  down to

5. life is still f**king beautiful

Its a gorgeously made little naked hardback and the poetry has been thoughtfully chosen to both amuse and enlighten us.

Hit me with the Cons?

No cons here.

All the feels or none of the feels?

All of the feels definitely, here are two of my favourites

Okay, so enjoyment factor out of 10?

20! its a beautiful little book

Would you recommend I read this book?

Yes in a heartbeat!  Its perfect for long standing poetry fans and for introducing poetry to those who may have thought it wasn’t for them.

 

 

The Cactus by Sarah Haywood

This was kindly sent me for review by Two Roads books, so a huge thank you to them.

Hey you have a book to review! Whats it called?

The Cactus

 

Who wrote it?

Sarah Haywood

 

Whats it about?

 A woman called Susan Green. At 45 she thinks her life is perfect. She has a good job,  a nice flat and personal arrangements with benefits that leave no room for messy emotional ties.

But following the death of her mother and the discovery that she is going to be a mother herself soon, things start to become a little messy.

 Now for the important bits, did you like it? (be honest now)

I did, but it never really blew me away. Its quite funny in lots of places but I found it flat and never felt the need to carry on reading everytime I had to put it down.

Gimme the Pros?

a sweet, easy read with a character that you take to right away.

 Hit me with the Cons?

I hate to say it but it’s a pale imitation of ‘Elinor Oliphant is completely fine’  They both have a female protagonist who is not your usual everyday character, who becomes a fish out of water and who is amusing in her naivety but there the similarity ends for me. There is no depth to the character and the plot ending can be seen from miles away.

And what the heck is going on with the use of the American spelling of Mom, when the book is about a British character, set in UK?

Cool Characters?

No one special

Prey tell, what of the Plot development?

Simple story and ending which as I said above can be guessed at early on

All the feels or none of the feels?

None sadly

Any other comments or are you done?

nope

Okay, so enjoyment factor out of 10?

3

Would you recommend I read this book?

I wouldn’t say rush out and buy it but i’m sure it will appeal to a wide range of readers who like their books gentle and non taxing

 

 

 

Slow bullets by Alastair Reynolds

I began 2018 with the intention to read more Science Fiction

This arrived yesterday from Gollancz/Orion. I began reading it almost as soon as it was out the package

Today I finished reading it.

Boom! mind blown!

A fairly short (at 182 pages) novella written by Alastair Reynolds.  I have to admit I hadn’t heard of him before or his writing so I can tick off quite a few things all in one go there.

Synopsis is quite long so read this to get an idea

Its a lot darker and a lot deeper than i imagined it would be and i’m not sure i’ll ever be able to understand it fully but I do love Alastair’s writing. His dialogue is wonderful, the plot begins fast paced and confusing to us readers but slows down and introduces us to the main protagonists, some of which Scur, Prad and Yesli are fascinating.

Its a tense, exciting thriller with a shadowy presence of doom always hanging in the air.  The characters are at first understandably suspicious of each other but throughout the story there is a sense of coming together which is beautifully written and the pace does not slip for a moment which i why i read this in a day.

Its not overloaded with ‘spacey’ terms and phrases so is good for a beginner like me. Its also the only book I can recall which has absolutely no romance or close friendships between the characters, its quite a revelation but a good one.

Bottom line is I really enjoyed it and it was a great place to begin my Sci Fi reading quest, so thank you to Gollancz books for sending me a copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.

 

 

All my friends are superheroes by Andrew Kaufman

I began 2018 by reading this fabulous little book (and it is little at just 110 pages!).

I had actually begun it last year but never finished it for some reason so I picked it on New Years Day and tore through the rest of it.

I adored this book, its a gentle, clever, clean read full of metaphors. This is the 10th anniversary edition which contains extra Superheroes which don’t all appear in the story. I found them all to be a little bit samey after a while. You can have too much of a good thing sometimes! But it didn’t detract from the book itself.

It contains lots of lovely illustrations throughout the book too by Tom Percival which really adds to the storyline.

It gave me all the feels this book and was a quick and easy read for when you dont have too much free time.

It gets a 5/5 from me.

Most anticipated books of 2018 – so far

I keep a spreadsheet of books upcoming in date order so i can see when my next book purchase will be. Currently I have 16 books due to be published in 2018 between now and the end of July. I’m sure this will be constantly added to though throughout the year.

 

But for this post I want to share with you my top 5 books.  These are all ones coming out in paperback, four of them are already available to purchase in hardback but as you know I prefer to wait for them to arrive in a format I can enjoy holding.

 

I’ll list them from least to most although I really cant wait to read them all but one stands head and shoulders above the rest.

 

So,

 

5. We have this…

 

 

Laini Taylor writes so lyrically and this book sounds just amazing.  I’ve heard nothing but high praise for it since its publication last year so its one I cant wait to finally hold in my hands and devour on 8th March. Published by Hodder Books

 

4. there’s this…

 

 

I loved Planetfall and I have the second book, After Atlas too so this is a total ‘must have’ I love Emma’s writing style and futuristic ideas. The premise sounds awesome so roll on 17th April. Published by Ace Books.

 

3. Also this delight…

 

 

I just loved The Martian and cant wait to find out what Andy has cooked up for us next. Part of my reading challenges this year involve more Sci-Fi so this should fit the bill nicely. Annoyingly I have to wait until 3rd July to get my hands on a copy though. Published by Del Rey.

 

2. Me wants this so much…

 

 

This sounds like such an unusual book idea and again its another book that has only been spoken of in the highest terms so I’m really excited to read about her ‘certainly less than quiet’ life.  I have the longest to wait though as its not out until 26th July. #idontdopatience  Published by Tinder Press.

 

1. Now for the Piece De Resistance… (drum roll please)

 

 

Being a genealogist myself and having spent 12 years tracing my ancestors and discovering many illnesses and traits I am beyond excited to read Stephen’s book about his family ailments down the years. He always sounds so passionate, knowledgeable and enthusiastic whenever i’ve heard him on tv or radio  talking about this, so know i’m going to love it. Whats even better is that I only have just over two weeks to wait as its published on 25th of this month!  Published by Simon & Schuster.

 

All dates mentioned are from Amazon and may possibly change so check bookshops just in case.

 

I will do another 5 books list next month

 

Meanwhile i’d best get reading my huge TBR pile in readiness for this bunch eh?

 

TTFN

 

Gill X

 

Its January! it’s more books! deal with it!

Yes, thats right this is another book haul or at least it will be once postie has been with my parcel.

*paces floor, bites nails and mutters under breath*

ME SPEAKING- CLICK PLAY BUTTON BELOW 

UPDATE: many hours later

They are here and I can share them with you *runs around whooping and doing the book haul dance*

Two of my reading goals for 2018 – which if you follow me on Twitter you’ll have seen me announce – are

1. To read more books by Japanese authors

and

2. To read more Science Fiction

I think you’ll agree I have made a damn fine start with this lot. Lets go through them shall we?


Literally a book about how much Haruki Murakami loves running. An autobiography of his passion for keeping fit and the reason he enjoys running for a hobby. A gentle sounding, quite short book (180 pages) which was a recommendation on none other than Ariel Bissett’s channel

For anyone new to my blog you will hear me praise Ariel many times for her quirky reads which are books I’d never heard of and wouldn’t normally pick up but, I trust her choices.


Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old history teacher, but he’s been alive for centuries.  From Elizabethan England to Jazz-Age Paris. As long as he keeps changing his identity he can stay one step ahead of his past – and stay alive.

The only thing he must not do is fall in love…

I mean, I ask you is that not such a teaser of a synopsis?  How could I not try this!


I’ve been waiting for this to come out in paperback form for ages. If you haven’t heard of it, go look it up right now. I just know this is gonna be a good’un and its my Sci-Fi choice, so double bubble.


These last two fit with my read more Japanese authors.  This book cover is so stunning too plus its short, shiny and floppy! Gah! what more could I ask for?


This was another book I learnt about from Ariel. (Tell me honestly am I sounding like a stalker?) Its such a simple premise and the book is another short(ish) one plus, it has those glorious french flaps. Nice touch Oneworld-Publications.

ME AGAIN 

Gill X

December book haul

Not long before Christmas I was sent these two beauties from Bloomsbury and Del Rey respectively

Just stunning aren’t they?  The book on the right is a proof copy hence no name or details and is called The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale.  I’ve dipped into it and its so evocative and beautifully written.


Then came Christmas and I was lucky enough to get the following

You can never have enough Catherynne M Valente books right? These covers are just sumptuous and her writing is glorious.

Wasn’t I a lucky little Christmas Elf?

 

 

We three books

Just a wee blog post to share with you my latest book purchases

What about these then!

We are the ants has a really unusual cover material its all slightly ridged and feels gorgeous.

Have you read these?

TTFN

Gill x

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