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London, UK
Interests: music, travel, exploring london and discovering new pubs., cooking, reading, photography, blogging, cycling, drinking guinness and g&ts (not together, mind)
Recent Activity
You do know Ive moved to dont you?
Toggle Commented Jan 14, 2015 on 'Eyrie' by Tim Winton at Reading Matters
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Thanks, Jill. You do know my blog has moved to dont you?
Toggle Commented Dec 22, 2014 on 'Eventide' by Kent Haruf at Reading Matters
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Yes, I did. Did you know this blog is no longer active? You should head to
Toggle Commented Dec 20, 2014 on About Reading Matters at Reading Matters
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This is advance notice that this edition of Reading Matters will be taken down in the New Year. My new-look blog, relaunched on WordPress in August, is available at If you haven't yet taken a look at it, you've missed a load of great reviews, including: ‘Alys, Always’ by Harriet Lane ‘Clara’s Daughter’ by Meike Ziervogel ‘The Wall Jumper’ by Peter Schneider ‘Coal Creek’ by Alex Miller ‘The Girl Who Was Saturday Night’ by Heather O’Neill ‘Paradise & Elsewhere’ by Kathy Page 'Reef’ by Romesh Gunesekera ‘The Lemur’ by Benjamin Black ‘Schroder’ by Amity Gaige ‘Ways of Going Home’ by Alejandro Zambra ‘Love and Summer’ by William Trevor 'The Avenue of the Giants’ by Marc Dugain ‘The Ever After of Ashwin Rao’ by Padma Viswanathan ‘The Shock of the Fall’ by Nathan Filer ‘Spider’ by Patrick McGrath ‘Tell’ by Frances Itani 'The Betrayers’ by David Bezmozgis ‘Us Conductors’ by... Continue reading
Posted Nov 26, 2014 at Reading Matters
Sorry, but I simply dont have the time to do them anymore.
Toggle Commented Sep 15, 2014 on The great return... is coming at Reading Matters
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The new-look Reading Matters has now gone live, complete with three new reviews. You can find it at Please change your bookmarks and blogrolls accordingly. And don't forget to subscribe to Reading Matters by email or RSS. Simply visit the footer of the new blog to sign up so that you never miss a post. See you there! Continue reading
Posted Sep 14, 2014 at Reading Matters
Wow, thanks so much for all your lovely supportive comments. I should point out that I will still review new books, but they won't be the sole focus of the blog. Stay tuned for an update tomorrow (Sunday)...
Toggle Commented Sep 13, 2014 on The great return... is coming at Reading Matters
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Remember me? The book blogger that hasn't blogged in almost two months? Well, I'm still here. And contrary to what you might think, I haven't been slacking off. I've been very busy behind the scenes creating a new-look blog, which I plan to launch in the next few days. The first thing you need to know is that the blog will no longer be hosted by Typepad, which means there will be a new URL (to be revealed in due course). I feel slightly disloyal to Typepad, whom I've been with since April 2004, but I've been increasingly disappointed by the lack of features, design options and templates that the service offers. And it didn't help that earlier in the year there were multiple outages in which my blog was down for days at a time. So, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that WordPress will offer a more reliable service.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2014 at Reading Matters
Please update your bookmarks and blogrolls: London Cycling Diary has a new home. You will now find me at Do drop by and say hi! (Note that this Typepad site will stay in place until my contract expires in... Continue reading
Posted Aug 25, 2014 at London Cycling Diary
Thanks, Rodney. I take it you are still cycling?
Toggle Commented Aug 5, 2014 on My first road bike at London Cycling Diary
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After eight years trundling the capital's streets on a hybrid bike, I've finally taken the plunge and bought myself a road bike. It's something I've been contemplating ever since I completed London Revolution last year (it still astounds me that... Continue reading
Posted Aug 4, 2014 at London Cycling Diary
Glad its been of help. Hope you get to read the books at some point...
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Cheers, Sharkell.
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Ah yes, no doubt you appreciate the PR references! Its a great novel; one that has stayed with me all these years after having read it.
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Just a quick note to let you all know I'm taking a self-imposed blogging break for the next few weeks. I am juggling lots of different stuff at the moment and my enthusiasm for reading and reviewing has taken a major hit. To quote U2 circa 1989, I need to "go away and dream it all up again". In the meantime, please do explore the archives — here's 10 reviews to keep you occupied until my return: An Irish classic you may not have heard of: 'The Pilgrimage' by John Broderick A black comedy about shopping and murder: 'Get Me Out of Here' by Henry Sutton The loveliest war novel you will ever read: 'Fair Stood the Wind for France' by H. E. Bates The best narrative non-fiction book of the past 5 years: 'Nothing to Envy: Real Lives in North Korea' by Barbara Demick An evocative story set in... Continue reading
Posted Jul 13, 2014 at Reading Matters
Youre very welcome, Simon. It was such a privilege to speak to him. I actually ran out of time; could have talked to him for hours.
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Oh, thats such a lovely story, thanks for sharing.
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Last Christmas I read Carl-Johan Vallgren's The Merman, a wonderful coming-of-age story set in snowy Sweden in 1983. To celebrate the paperback release of the book today, the publisher Hesperus Press is kindly offering three lucky readers the chance to win a copy. But please note the books can only be sent out to a UK or Ireland address. To enter, leave a comment below telling me the name of something from Sweden — it might be an author, book, food, town... you get the idea. Entries will close at 10am on Friday July 18. Please make sure you include your email address when you sign in to make your comment (this won't be published), otherwise I have no way of contacting you directly if you win. The winners will be chosen via an online random number generator (or some such). Note, you can only enter once and entries by... Continue reading
Posted Jul 11, 2014 at Reading Matters
Many thanks, Sharkell. It seems so long ago now, it feels a bit like I dreamed it.
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You may remember that way back in May I was very fortunate to interview Australian author Tim Winton while he was part-way through a whirlwind tour of the UK and Ireland promoting his new novel, Eyrie. I published some of that interview here on Reading Matters, but the bulk of it was submitted to Shiny New Books for publication at a later date. The second issue of SNB came out today, and I'm pleased to report my interview has been published in full. Do pop over and read it if you can. And do check out the rest of the book reviews and features on SNB, which is jam packed with lots of lovely and intriguing content. Congrats to all involved — you've done a super job! Continue reading
Posted Jul 7, 2014 at Reading Matters
I bought this from Foyles when the book first came out and it has been sitting on my shelves ever since. Not sure why I decided to read it now, but it was an unexpected delight. I thought I would be able to get through it quickly because it is so small, but actually it took me just as long as a much thicker novel because it wasnt a book to rush through... there is lots to mull over.
Toggle Commented Jul 7, 2014 on 'Peace' by Richard Bausch at Reading Matters
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Fiction - hardcover; Tuskar Rock; 171 pages; 2009. There's a lot to be said for short, succinct books, especially if they deliver punches that feel more powerful — and more targeted — than might be achieved by novels of much longer length. It takes a particular skill to craft stories that have been honed to the bare minimum without losing the essence of what makes them special. Richard Bausch, an American writer, has that rare talent to convey meaning and emotion in a tightly written narrative in which every word has to justify its existence. No surprise, then, that he's largely known as a short story writer. Peace, first published in 2009 — in the then new Atlantic imprint Tuskar Rock started by Colm Toibin — proves that in the right hands a story doesn't have to be 500 pages long to have an impact. I came away from this... Continue reading
Posted Jul 6, 2014 at Reading Matters
Thanks to everyone who entered my competition to win a bundle of Yoko Ogawa books. A record number of your threw your name in the hat — and no wonder, the books are totally covetable and I'm tempted to keep the set for myself! Alas, I've promised to give them away. So, without further ado, I used a random integer generator to choose the winner. Drum roll, please! Here are your random numbers: 23 Timestamp: 2014-07-02 20:59:50 UTC That means the lucky winner is Meliperr. Congratulations! I will be in touch soon to find out your address. Commiserations to those that missed out — and many thanks to Vintage Books for supplying the prizes. Continue reading
Posted Jul 2, 2014 at Reading Matters
Glad to hear you enjoyed it. Sometimes it helps to just read something that zips along without you having to do too much deep thinking. I guess that's what people mean when they say "holiday read" or "beach read".
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