Under the Skin is Michel Faber’s debut novel. I borrowed it from a friend after watching the film of the same title, directed by Jonathan Glazer and starring Scarlett Johansson. I’m glad that I read the book after the film, because there is only a loose connection between the two. I love the film, but I wonder whether I would feel the same if I’d read the book first and seen the film as an adaptation of the book.Continue reading
Bollocks to Alton Towers is a guide to visitor attractions in the UK that are a parallel world to the identikit theme parks and desperate-to-entertain you museums that top the visitor attraction lists and vie for awards.
This small book of “Uncommonly British Days Out” is a friend lend. I’ve only had it for three years. We’re off to stay with the friends who lent it soon, so I thought I’d make it the first book in my new personal reading challenge.Continue reading
It’s the first Saturday of the month and time once again for Six Degrees of Separation, hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. This month we start our chains with the book that was the final link in last month’s chain.
I chose The Book of Ramallah, a collection of short stories by writers from or based in this Palestinian city. This month, I’m going to use it to promote the books of its Manchester-based radical left wing publisher, Comma Press, and the female editors and writers featured in their books.Continue reading
First up is an update on how I did with my 10 Books of Summer reading list. 20 Books of Summer is an annual challenge hosted by Cathy at 746 Books. This is the third year I’ve taken part, and once again I’ve managed to knock a few books off my To Read pile.
This year, 130 people signed up to the challenge. Cathy posted recently about how she’d done, which reminded me to do the same.Continue reading
Variations is a collection of short stories inspired by real events that explore transgender history in Britain. The stories take a variety of forms, from diaries, letters and oral history interviews to blogs and screenplays. Across the collection, Juliet Jacques follows a series of trans people and their experiences from the 19th through to the 21st century. She opens each story with a paragraph that contextualises what follows and regularly includes footnotes with further context. This gives such an air of authority that I began to question whether this book gathered together fiction or fact. In a way, it does both. Jacques has written a history of trans experience but disguised it as fiction.Continue reading
It’s November 2020 and the coronavirus pandemic is taking its toll on the residents of a village in the Peak District. Told in the form of a running commentary on the actions and thoughts of a small set of neighbours, there’s something oppressive in the narrative of Sarah Moss’s pandemic novel The Fell.Continue reading
I have been looking forward to reading Breasts and Eggs, Mieko Kawakami’s novel about writing that follows a working class woman in Tokyo and her battle to become an author, since I first saw it mentioned in a Must Read list. I treated myself to a copy at the start of the year and now its time has come, swapped into my 10 Books of Summer for Women in Translation Month.Continue reading
How quickly the year is turning. We’re almost a week through August already and it’s the first Saturday in the month. Time to join Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best for Six Degrees of Separation.
Our starting book is Ruth Ozeki’s 2022 Women’s Prize for Fiction-winning novel The Book of Form and Emptiness.Continue reading
Notes from Childhood is Norah Lange’s memoir of her childhood, published in Charlotte Whittle’s English translation by And Other Stories in 2021. I chose to substitute it for one of my original 10 Books of Summer as I wanted to read it for Women in Translation Month.
I don’t know much about Norah Lange, other than she was part of the same Buenos Aires writing circle as Jorge Luis Borges. And Other Stories published a translation of her novel People in the Room, also with Charlotte Whittle, in 2018.
Lange’s memoir begins in 1910, when she was around five years old and the family left Buenos Aires for their estate in Mendoza. It documents her observations of the world and her family, with some fictionalisation here and there.Continue reading