Some pithy prose from Orwell @shinynewbooks @PenguinUKBooks


There are some authors who never seem to lose their relevance, and George Orwell is most certainly high on that list. Last year, I read one of his essays, “England, Your England”, which had been brought out as a pamphlet by Penguin. That essay was part of a larger work, “The Lion and the Unicorn”, and Penguin have just released a beautiful new edition of the book in their Modern Classics range.

Now, isn’t that choice of cover image so wonderfully ironic…

I’ve reviewed the Orwell on Shiny New Books, and it’s a work that seems to me to still be painfully relevant to our modern situation. Pop over and have a look at my thoughts – I don’t think we can ever have enough Orwell…


In pursuit of the glass girl @shinynewbooks @AnnaKavan


I have a review up on Shiny New Books today, and it’s of a stunning and memorable book – Anna Kavan’s “Ice”.

I picked up my original, rather fragile Picador edition (shown on the left) decades ago and haven’t revisited the book since. However, it’s now been reissued in a eye-catching Penguin Modern Classic (centre) and a beautiful Peter Owen Cased Classic (right), as well as a Penguin black cover classic in the USA (which I don’t have).

Reading the book during a freezing period of weather over Christmas was a sobering experience, and provided plenty of context for considering the book and Kavan’s message. To find out if I prefer one version over another, and to read my thoughts on “Ice” (it’s a long review…), you can head over to Shiny here!

Russian Émigré Short Stories at @shinynewbooks @Bryan_S_K


I have a new review up at Shiny New Books today that I wanted to share with you, and it’s of a wonderful chunky volume of stories which has been involving me for a few weeks.

“Russian Émigré Short Stories from Bunin to Yanovsky” is a landmark collection from Penguin. Skilfully collected, edited, annotated and mostly translated by the talented Bryan Karetnyk, it collects together a wonderful array of works by authors who were exiled from their homeland by the Russian Revolution and the Civil War 100 years ago.

Translator and all-round clever person Bryan Karetnyk

Some authors are well-known (Nabokov, Bunin), some recently rediscovered (Teffi, Gaito Gazdanov) but many new to me and newly translated and quite marvellous.

You can read my review here – and I can’t recommend this collection highly enough.

Jane Austen week at #ShinyNewBooks


Tomorrow is the 200th anniversary of the beloved English author, Jane Austen, and Shiny New Books is hosting a week of posts celebrating her life and work.

I spent some happy hours encountering Austen’s juvenilia recently, courtesy of a beautiful review copy from Oxford University Press, and my review is up on Shiny today. Do go and check it out here, and also keep an eye on their posts for the week – there’s bound to be some fascinating reading!

A Poet’s Legacy – #ShinyNewBooks #SylviaPlath


A quick heads-up about a review I’ve done for Shiny New Books which is now live. The book this time is a fascinating volume which looks at the archival legacy of Sylvia Plath, one of my favourite authors, and it’s an intriguing and involving read.

Plath’s archive is vast and very spread out, and following the adventures of the authors as they explored the many aspects of it was a wonderful experience. You can read my full review here.


Dark and unsettling… #ShinyNewBooks


I have a new review up on Shiny New Books today, in the form of a new collection of short stories by the American author, Joyce Carol Oates.

Oates is a remarkably prolific author, and I had previously reviewed one of her books, so I was keen to explore more when I had the chance to review this collection. It’s entitled, rather chillingly, DIS MEM BER, and the stories are certainly unsettling to say the least – but highly recommended.

(Photo by Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert/Getty Images)

My review is here, so do pop over and have a look! More

Meeting Letty Fox #shinynewbooks


You might have noticed me mentioning in a few places recently that I had been reading a rather large review book. That volumes was “Letty Fox: Her Luck”, a long, interesting and in some ways frustrating read!

This was my second encounter with Christina Stead, who certainly can write although seems to me to be in need of an editor! The book is another lovely reprint from Apollo, and they certainly do produce some lovely editions.

My review is here – do go and check it out, as well as all the lovely bookish things on Shiny New Books!

Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: