You’ve probably already heard of Yanagihara and her Man Booker Prize-shortlisted A Little Life, but it was her debut novel that intigued me. It’s about a seemingly immortal tribe – the Dreamers – on an exotic micronesian island who owe their longevity to turtles, and who are betrayed by anthropologist Paul Tallent in a tale … More Mini review: The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara
The Saffron Road is as good an introduction to Buddhism as I can imagine, but then I am a complete novice. Everything in this book was new to me. As Toomey traverses the world meeting nuns from different backgrounds, she weaves in and out of the religion’s social, political and ethical history. You get a … More Mini review: The Saffron Road by Christine Toomey
Originally published on the Stanfords travel blog, but now with an EXTRA book. Wowee. Ah, that rare phenomenon: the British Heatwave. Despite its elusive reputation, here in Bristol we’ve recently been blessed with long, sunny days filled with the flip-flops and bare torsos that are quintessential to our normally chilly island. (This is in addition … More 5 great books to read during a heatwave
Here’s a speedy blog for some speedy reads. I’ve selected some favourites from my recently-read short fiction, poetry, natural history and young adult titles – all of which can be read in one sitting. Because sometimes you just need a quick fix. Fiction Radish by Mo Yan What can I say about about this strange … More 6 quick reads: books to read in one sitting.
I read Face Paint because, as I age, I feel the need to do something with myself when I look in the mirror – an urge I initially resisted for many reasons. (‘Why should I?’; lack of funds; pretending I have minimal vanity.) But, for the first time in my 28 years of life, my … More Face Paint: The Story of Makeup by Lisa Eldridge
How could I possibly resist Hiromi Kawakami’s Strange Weather in Tokyo? As soon as I glimpsed Natsumi Hayashi’s cover photograph (see right) I knew I had to read it. The woman looks as if she’s being reeled in by homely temptations, just like in those old cartoons when the aroma of a freshly baked pie … More Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami
When I was young, if I was reading and came across a word that I didn’t understand, I’d ask my mum what it meant. She’d say, “do you want the long or the short version?” The short version would be a pithy, maximum-three-sentences definition of the word. The long version would be a substantial monologue … More A Very Brief Introduction.