feb round up

another month comes to end ,its been a great month on winstonsdad ,two blog improvement tasks ,got blog looking great at moment new header up to date tags and categories ,well what have i read this month –

  1. The belly of the Atlantic by Fatou Diome
  2. A winter book by Tove Jansson
  3. Jerusalem by Patrick Neate
  4. First as tragedy then as farce by Slavoj Zizek
  5. The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris
  6. The girl with glass feet by Ali Shaw
  7. Dinner at the homesick restaurant by Anne Tyler
  8. postcards from a dead girlfriend by kirk Farber
  9. The man who knew everything by Tom Stacey

the ones i really liked were the girl with glass feet ,postcards from a dead girlfriend and the man who knew everything .

reading challenges 2010

around the world in  52 books 8/52

hundred books in a year 18/100

both still on course may need to read a few more from my around the world challenge in march

 March’s plans will be to start with the new Jo Nesbo ,the a book about iran .good reading all

dinner at the homesick resturaunt

 This came to me via a loan from bookrambler after a lament from myself earlier in the year that i don’t feel i read enough female writers last year and to be honest in general this was Jannette suggestion ,this is one of Anne Tylers most popular novels and i can see why it is beautifully written ,it follows the ups and downs of the Tull’s family a single parent family with the matriarch pearl and her band of kids Cody ,Ezra and jenny you get to see them grow up and develop ,the main thing i loved is the Tyler write exactly how real families are warts and all there is no beautifying at all .The characters are well drawn particularly pearl and her wayward son Cody a lad that most rebellious teens would recognize .the story is told in snippets as pearl lays dying and recalls the family growing .

while pearl Tull was dying ,a funny thought occurred to her .It twitched her lips and rustled her breath ,and she felt her son lean forward from where he kept watch by her bed .”get . . . “she told him “you should have got . . . ”

you should have got an extra mother ,was what she meant to say …………………

have you read Tyler do you have a favourite ?



book booty in sheffield

up them owls

          Today me and my darling wife went to Sheffield ,which meant i got chance to wander round Blackwell’s and Waterstones today ,which is always a treat for myself i got three books today :-

best european fiction 2010 ,this is Dalkey archives collection of short stories from 27 countries compiled by the Bosnian american writer Aleksandar Hemon ,this is Dalkey archives attempt to get Americans and others to read more european fiction ,i ve been looking forward to getting this book since i read about it earlier this year

Saplings by Noel Streatfield ,this is first of two book published by Persephone books the publisher republishes mainly female writers from twenties to fifties ,this particular story is set just before and during the second world war  and follows how a family copes with the wartime stresses .

cheerful weather for the wedding by Julia Strachey ,my second Persephone book is a novella from the Bloomsbury era a domestic tale ,i ve chosen two Persephone books for the Persephone reading week in may that i noticed on paperbackreaders blog

the girl with glass feet by Ali Shaw

this is a great first novel it so reminded me of the irish folklore books my grandparents had when i was young the story of Ida as her feet turn to glass and Midas a lonesome photographer .the story centres on st haugland an island where there are wonderful and deadly jellyfish mad little cows with moth wings .as the story progresses Ida gets more glass ie cold and you start to see the uptight midas warm a little .they hunt for a cure or explanation of what is happening to Ida .

there is many echos of classic folk-lore here the magical island ,Midas’s name ,horrific consequences for venturing somewhere your not meant to .Shaw describes this magical place beautifully with bogs swamps it could be anywhere on the atlantic coast from Cornwall ,Scottish island the north-west coast of island .A lovely book for anyone that likes dreamy folksy tales it is a great read it manages to not via into fantasy or comedy which given the subject matter is very easy .

do you like folk story type novels ?

book heaven

 Thought i d do a quick post about my book heaven well heavens really it is my local library system ,we have a great library in Chesterfield where you can always get one or two new gems that you’ve either seen on a blog or in a review .There is also a great on-line catalogue ,recent loans have been the Ali Shaw for the not the tv book club,Javier Marias and Manuel Puig all of  which i order for delivery to local library to me (Brimington library that is two mins walk from me) ,they usually take two to three days to be delivered from another library .they also got last years booker shortlist very quickly .

a picture of Chesterfield’s main library

Do you use your library ?

In the post

Some of the books i ve got this week –

from top to bottom –

the man who knew everything  by tom Stacey this was from my great blogger and twitter friend Simon(insidebooks ),a lovely Capuchin classic volume of staceys book following a reporter on the fleet street of the 50’s

Young Turk by Moris Farhi – this came from telegram books as part of the celebration of jewish book week , the story follows a 14yr old jewish boys war experiences in turkey

everything is the best thing ever by Justin Taylor – from harpers a collection of stories by the up and coming talent of Justin Taylor a regular contributor to the believer and nplus1

mornings with Mailer by Dwayne Raymond from harper as well ,Raymond memories of working with the great Mailer in his twilight years ,looks like it will be a great look into the life of Mailer

postcards from a dead girl by kirk Farber ,Sid Higgins follows an ex round the world via her postcards as he suffers from a brain tumor ,seems like a male p.s i love you

the pregnant widow Martin Amis ,from Jonathan cape a book I won ,this is one of the most talked about books of the year I will read it with an open mind thou til I ve read it

also this for my around the world challenge from the lovely rabbits  at bookrabbit. a tale set in Tehran following a hunt for a new passport.

the unnamed by joshua ferris

 This is probably one of the most eagerly waited books this year as ferris follows up his hugely successful then we came to the end ,with this the unnamed the novel centres on tim Farnsworth and his family .the novels starts with tim a successful lawyer in an up and coming law firm just about to talk his biggest case .When he suddenly starts to walk and wander off been unable to stop the compulsion to walk.at first this just happens from time to time ,but as the book moves on the frequency increases ,until in the end Tim has to walk all the time just grasping food and sleep from time to time .The family tries to support tim helping in a battery of test for what is an unknown and thus unnamed condition .The book is beautifully written i did find it a little predictable in places and had echos later on of scenes from into the wild where the main charcater in that wanders alaska.but is compelling story of how families can struggle and break under problems like this . It also falls into what Marco Roth in nplus1 called the neuro novel ,the trend for the main charcater to have a mental or psychological condition .

Hands and feet are cold .Leg is hurting .Stomach is empty and would like some food .he was assailed night and day by such complaints .they were crude and unimpeachable .he was accustomed to accommodating his body ,so defiance had to be deliberated ,disciplined, as zen like as possible .

quote from late on as tim struggles with problems caused by constant walking

Bookered or not bookered

 The other day i was on jackie’s site farmlanebooks and read the booker challenge list although i haven’t time this year to take part I’ d thought i d note down the list and which i ve read and which i ve got to read .

bold items read ,italic items on tbr pile .


P H Newby  something to answer for

Barry England  figures in the landscape

Nicholas mosley  impossible object

Iris murdoch the nic and the good

Muriel Sparks the public image

G.M Williams from scenes like these


Bernice Rubens the elected member

A L Barker John Browns body

Elizabeth Bowen Eva Trout

Iris Murdoch Bruno’s dream

William Trevor Mrs Eckdorf in O’Neil hotel

T w wheeler the conjunction

1971 .

V S Naipaul in a free state

Thomas Kilroy the big chapel

Doris Lessing breifing for a descent into hell

Mordecai Richler St Urbain’s horseman

Derek Robinson Goshawk squadron

Elizabeth Taylor Mrs Palfrey at claremont


John Berger G.

Susan Hill the bird of night

Thomas Keneally the chant of Jimmie Blacksmith

David Storey Passmore


J G Farrell the siege of Krishnapur

Beryl Banbridge the dressmaker

Elizabeth Mavor the green equinox

Iris Murdoch the black prince


Nadine Gordimer the conservationist

Stanley Middleton holiday

Kingsley Amis ending up

Beryl Bainbridge the bottle factory opening

C P Snow in their wisdom


Ruth Prawer Jhabvala heat and dust

Thomas Keneally gossip fromthe forest


David Storey saville

Andre Bink an instant in the wind

R C Hutchinson rising

Brian Moore the doctor’s wife

Julian Rathbone king fisher lives

William Trevor  the children of Dynmouth


Paul Scott staying on

Paul Bailey  Peter Smarts confessions

Caroline Blackwood Great Granny Webster

Jenifer Johnson shadows on our skin

Penelope Lively the road to Lichfield

Babara Pym quartet in autumm


Iris Murdoch the sea the sea

Kingsley Amis Jake’s thing

Andre Brink rumours of rain

Penelope Fitzgerald the bookshop

Jane Gardam gods on te rocks

Bernice Rebens a five year sentence


Penelope fitzgerald offshore

Thomas Keneally confederates

V S Naipaul a bend in the river

Julian Rathbone Joseph

Fay Weldon praxis

1980 .

William Golding rites of passage

Anthony Burgess earthly powers

Anita Desai clear light of day

Alice Munro the beggar maid

Julia O’Faolain no country for young men


Salman Rushdie midnights children

Molly Keane good behaviour

Doris Lessing the Sirian experiments

Ian McEwan the comfort of strangers

Ann Schllee Rhine journey

Muriel Spark Loitering With intent

D.M.Thomas the white hotel


Thomas Keneally Schindlers ark

John Arden silence among the weapons

William Boyd an ice cream war

lawrence durrell constance or solitrary pratices

Alice Thomas Ellis the 27th kingdom

Timothy Mo sour sweet


J.M.Cotzee life&times of Michael K

Malcolm Bradbury rates of exchange

John Fuller flying to nowhere

Anita Mason the illusioniust

Salman Rushdie shame

Graham Swift waterlaznd

1984 .

Anita Brookner hotel du lac

J G Ballard empire of the sun

Julian Barnes  Flauberts parrot

Anita Desai in cutody

Penelope Lively according to Mark

David Lodge small world


Keri Hulme the bone people

Peter Carey illywhaker

J L Carr the battle of Pollocks crossing

Doris Lessing the good terrorist

Jan Morris letter to Hav

Iris Murdoch the good apprentice


Kingsley amis the old devils

Magret Attwood the handmaidens tale

Paul Bailey Gabriels Lament

Robertson Davies what’s bred in the bone

Kazuo Ishiguro  an artist of the floating world

Timothy Mo an insular possession


Penelope Lively moon tiger

China Achebe anthills in the savannah

Peter Ackroyd Chatterton

Nina Bawden circles of decit

Brian Moore the colour of blood

Iris Murdoch the book and the brotherhood


Peter Carey Oscar and Lucinda

Bruce Chatwin Utz

Penelope Fitzgerald The beginning of spring

David Lodge nice work

Salman Rushdie the santanic verses

Mariner Warner the lost father


Kauzo Ishiguro the remains of the day

Magert Attwood cat’s eye

John Banville the book of evidence

Sybille Bedford jigaw

James Kelman a disaffection

Rose tremain restoration


A S Byatt possesion  a romance

Beryl Banbridge an awfully big adventure

Penelope fitzgerald the gates of angels

John McGahern amongst women

Brian Moore life of silence

Mordecai richler Solomon Gursky was here


Ben Okri Famished Road

Martin Amis times arrow

Roddy Doyle the van

Rohinton Mistry such a long journey

Timothy Mo the redundacy of courage

William trevor reading turgenev from two lives


michael ondaatje the english patient

Barry Unsworth sacred heart

Christopher Hope serenity house

Patrick McCabe the butcher boy

Ian McEwan black dog

Michele Roberts daughters of the house

1993 .

Roddy Doyle Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha

Michael Ignatieff scar tissue

David Malouf remembering babylon

Caryl Phillips  crossing the river

Carol Shields the stone diares


James Kelman how late it was how late

Romesh Guesekera reef

Abdlulrazak Gurnah pardise

Alan Hollinghurst folding star

George Mackay brown beside the ocean of time

Jill Paton Walsh knowledge of angels


Pat Barker ghost road

Justin cartwright in every face i meet

Salman Rushdie the moors last sight

Barry Unsworth Morality play

Tim Winton riders


Graham Swift last orders

Magaret Attwood alias grace

Beryl Banbridge every man for himself

Sezmus Deane reading in the dark

Shena Macksy the orchard on fire

Rohinton Mistry a fine balence


arundhati roy the god of small things

Jim Grace quaratine  

Mick Jackson the underground man

Bernard MacLaverty grace notes

Tim Parks europa

Madelin st John the essence of the thing


Ian McEwan amsterdam

Julian Barnes England ,England

Martin Booth the industry of souls

Patrick McCabe breakfast on pluto

Magnus Mills the restraint of beasts


J.MCotzee disgrace

Anita Desai fasting,feasting

Michael Frayn headlong

Andrew O’Hagan our fathers

Ahdaf Soueif the map of love

Colm Tobin the blackwater lightship


Maragaret Attwood the blind assassin

Trezza Azzopardi the hiding place

Kauzo Ishiguro when we were orphans

michael colins the keepers of truth

Mathew Kneale English passengers

Brain O’Doherty the depostion of father McGreevey


Peter carey the true history of the kelly gang

Ian McEwan attonement

Andrew Miller oxygen

David mitchell number9dream

Rachel Seiffert the dark room

ali smith hotel world


Yann Martel life of pi

Rohinton Mistry family matters

Carol shields unless

William Trevor the story of Lucy Gaunt

Sarah Water fingersmith

Tim Winton dirt music


D.B.C.Piere veron god little

Monica Ali brick lane

Margaret Attwood onyx and crake

Damon Galgut the good doctor

Zoe Heller notes on a scandel

Clare Morrall astonishing Splashes of colour


Alan Hollinghurst the line of beauty

Achmat Dangor bitter fruit

Sarah Hall the electric michelangelo

David Mitchell  cloud atlas

Colm Tobin the master

Gerald woodward i ll go to bed at noon


John Banville the sea

Julian Barnes Arthur and George

Sebastian Barry a long long way

Kazuo Ishiguro never let me go

Ali Smith the accidential

Zadie Smith on beauty


Kiran Desai the inheirtance of loss

Kate Grenville the secret river

M J Hyland carry me down

HishamMatar in the country of men

Edward st Aubyn mothers milk

Sarah Waters nightwatch


Anne Enright the gathering #

nicola Barker darkmans

Mohsin Hamid the reluctant fundamentalist

Ian McEwan on chesil beach

Lloyd Jones mister Pip

Indra Sinha animal’s people


Aravind Adiga the white tiger

Sebastina Barry the secret scripture

Amitav Ghosh sea of popies

Linda Grant the clothes of their back

Philip Hensher the northern clemency

Steve Tolz a fraction of the whole


Hilary Mantel wolf hall

A.S byatt childrens book

J.M.Cotzee summertime

Adam Foulds the quickening maze

Simon Mawer the glass room

Sarah Waters the little stranger




 Will self has been one of my favourite writers since the mid 90;s .When i read the quantity theory of insanity ,where will’s dark sometimes disturbing narrative style shone wonderfully through in a brilliant collection of short stories .One could say i was hooked straight away and as you can see over the years have got most of his short stories and novels ,eagerly watch self’s style develop over the years from realistic if dark in the early days to surreal and deeply satirical works of recent years .a natural heir to Ballard and even Wyndham ,even further back to the works of swift .You are transported to worlds whether in  the future or in a parrell time to our own .

the books picture are my favourites and span will’s career from the early grey area collection of short stories show ing the many facets of london life ,through Dorian a great novel that updates Oscar Wildes Dorian gray to the eighties and  modern art an inspired retelling of a classic ,great apes is in a similar vein a man awakes to find himself the only human in a world of apes ,which is a distant cousin to swifts Gulivers travels and a brillant piece of satire with its insights in to modern  life ,till the last novel i got the book of Dave a mans musings found and turned in to a bible in a broken future England .

my signed first edition of dr M .

Have you read Will Self have you a favourite ?

valentines day

 today is valentine’s ,we had a lovely breakfast in bed of croissants and jam this morning exchange our cards and gifts ,we ve a nice romantic meal planned for this evening .Over the years i ve read a few books with love and romance in them here are a few .

Abel’s island by William Steig,a childhood favourite the mouse Abel drifts of to an island away from his wife ,adventures follow whilst he thinks of his wife ,and eventually escapes to be with his darling wife .A great story for kids

Wuthering heights by Emily Bronte ,a classic Heathcliffs and Cathys story on the windswept moors of Yorkshire a great read for those dark winter nights

cold mountain by Charles Frazier Ada and Inman love across distance during the american civil war as they dream of being together Inman making his way home after a brutal battle in the civil war .and made in to a wonderful film by the late Anthony Mingella.

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier ,a romance set in south france that turns dark on a return to Cornwall but in the end ,it ends well .

happy valentines one and all

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February 2010


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