Surrealism on Shiny


Today I have another review live on Shiny New Books, and this time it’s non-fiction for a change. The book in question is a fascinating one about a fascinating artist; entitled “The Surreal Life of Leonora Carrington”, it’s authored by a relative of the artist, Joanna Moorhead, and she offers an intriguing perspective on her cousin.

I’ve written about Carrington’s work before, when I reviewed “The Hearing Trumpet“; and I’ll be covering the new NYRB edition of “Down Below” soon. Meanwhile, you can read my review of “The Surreal Life of Leonora Carrington” here – it’s an excellent book!


A Review for Shiny – reinventing some Soviet authors!


If you’re a regular reader of the Ramblings, you’ll be aware of my love of every kind of Russian literature; and also of my great fondness from the marvellous Mikhail Bulgakov, author of “The Master and Margarita” amongst others.

So it was a given that I’d be keen on reading a new book from Europa Editions, “Mikhail and Margarita” by Julie Lekstrom Himes, which takes the lives of Bulgakov and his fellow author Mandelstam and constructs a fascinating fantasia, creating an alternative version of their lives which draws in Bulgakov’s great work.

The book is not without its flaws, but it captures marvellously the tense atmosphere of being an artist living under a totalitarian regime – and you can read my full review over on Shiny New Books here!

Breaking new ground with another read for Shiny!


I have another review up on Shiny New Books today, and it’s of another author new to me – H.P. Lovecraft. I’m not much of a reader of horror fiction and if I do touch upon that genre, it tends to be classics rather than modern writing. I suppose this *would* be classed as a classic as it was written in 1927 (though not issued until 1943), and as it was being published by Apollo, who are releasing some wonderful lost novels, I was keen to give it a try.

I ended up absolutely loving “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward”. It was spooky, gripping and very entertaining, and not quite what I expected of Lovecraft. You can read what I thought about it here!

… in which I make the acquaintance of James Thurber – on Shiny! :)


Author James Thurber

Author James Thurber

Just a quick heads up that I have another review over on Shiny New Books today! This time I’ve been making the acquaintance of the great American humorist, James Thurber.

Poster for the Danny Kaye film

Poster for the Danny Kaye film

Thurber is probably best known for his story “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”, which was a hugely successful film with Danny Kaye (I *love* Danny Kaye!).


However, the book, which has been released in a shiny new edition with a striking cover by Penguin Modern Classics, turns out to be quite a different kettle of fish – pop over to Shiny, and have a look at my review, which is here!

More wonderful fiction from Lem – at Shiny New Books!


No doubt you’ll all have been exploring the lovely new revamped Shiny New Books with its wonderful array of reviews and recommendations! I have a few reviews coming up on the site, and one is published today – my thoughts on the latest reissued Stanislaw Lem book from Penguin, “Mortal Engines”.


Like the other Lem books I’ve read from Penguin, this one contains a collection of shorter works. However, in this volume they’re selected by translator Michael Kandel, and they’re an intriguing bunch with some longer stories moving away from the kind I’ve read so far.

My review of this fabulous collection is here – do go and have a look! 🙂

A Wonderful piece of Russian Satire – Another Shiny Link


If there’s one thing I loved, it’s a chunky piece of Russian satire, and so I was particular pleased to be offered the chance to review a lovely new edition of such a book for Shiny New Books! The reprint in question is “The History of a Town” by Saltykov-Shchedrin, an author best-known for his classic satirical novel “The Golovlyov Family”.


“The History of a Town” has been reprinted in a beautiful new edition by Apollo, an imprint of Head of Zeus – and their books really are lovely, with striking pictorial covers and end papers. This was my first experience of Saltykov-Shchedrin and it was a wonderful one – you can read my full review here!

The Final Shininess of the Year!


SNB-logo-small-e1393871908245Today is the publication day for the final issue of Shiny New Books for 2016- number 13! It’s also, I believe, going to be the final one in this format, so do go and enjoy all the lovely content there.


I’ve been pleased to provide a few reviews this time round and I thought I would first of all point you to my thoughts on a beautiful new edition of “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” from Alma Classics. Aimed at a younger audience, and featuring black and white illustrations plus a plethora of extra material, it really is a lovely thing. You can read my full review here, and of course there will be much in the way of fascinating reading to be found in the whole of Shiny New Books! 🙂

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