A Column of Fire

Title: A Column of Fire Writer: Ken Follett Publishing House: Viking Date of Publication: September 12th 2017 Rating: 4 stars ‘’People should hear Bible stories from their parish priest. If they start reading for themselves, they’re sure to get the wrong idea.’’ Some things never change… 1558, Kingsbridge. Europe is once again in disarray, torn by trivial religious differences. The…

Captain Rosalie

Title: Captain Rosalie Writer:  Timothée de Fombelle, illustration by Isabelle Arsenault (tr. by Sam Gordon) Publishing House: Candlewick Press Date of Publication: June 11th 2019 Rating: 5 stars ‘’Dogs bark in the distance, out there by the farms. The dead leaves whistle their way across the school yard.’’ 1917, a cold autumn day in France. WWI has darkened Europe….

Madame Zero

Title: Madame Zero Writer: Sarah Hall Publishing House: Faber & Faber Date of Publication: July 4th 2017 Rating: 4 stars ‘’The morning is clear, a few high clouds banking on the horizon. Dawn has come and gone, but it still feels fresh and damp and clean. You cycle through the hospital grounds, past the crematorium and across a small…

The Bookshop

Title: The Bookshop Writer: Penelope Fitzgerald Publishing House: HarperCollins Date of Publication: January 30th 2014 (first published 1978) Rating: 5 stars ”A good book is the precious lifeblood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life,” and as such it must surely be a necessary commodity. ” Sometimes you have to fight against…

Lanny

Title: Lanny Writer: Max Porter Publishing House: Faber & Faber Date of Publication: March 7th 2019 Rating: 5 stars ‘’It would have been the head of a dolphin and the wings of a peregrine, and it would be a storm-watching beast, watching the weather while we sleep.’’ Max Porter’s Grief is the Thing with Feathers has been on my list…

Suspended Heart

Title: Suspended Heart Writer: Heather Fowler Publishing House: Pink Narcissus Press Date of Publication: May 15th 2019 (originally published December 17th 2010) Rating: 3 stars If you follow my reviews, you’ll know that Magical Realism is a great love of mine, especially when combined with Literary Fiction.Short Stories collections are on the rise and justifiably so. The ambiguous closures and…

False Bingo: Stories

Title: False Bingo: Stories Writer: Jac Jemc Publishing House: Farrar, Straus and Giroux Date of Publication: October 8th 2019 Rating: 5 stars ‘’I am a problem without a solution. I am a question without an answer. I am a poison without an antidote. I will never know what it is I’ve done.’’ I fell under Jac Jemc’s spell what I…

Russian Easter Stories

Title: ΡΩΣΙΚΕΣ ΠΑΣΧΑΛΙΝΕΣ ΙΣΤΟΡΙΕΣ Writer: Various edited by Laura Averbukh Publishing House: ΝΑΡΚΙΣΣΟΣ Date of Publication: March 2005 Rating: 5 stars ‘’Yes…today there is happiness…’’, Ieronimus said in a weak voice, like a sick man who has just started recovering. ‘’There is joy in the heavens and the earth, even in Hell itself. The whole creation rejoices. Yet, tell…

Occult London

Title: Occult London Writer: Merlin Coverley Publishing House: Oldcastle Books Date of Publication: May 1st 2018 (first published June 1st 2007) Rating: 4 stars ‘’London is a city whose origins remain obscure and whose identity remains bound up with the mythical and the legendary, the hidden and the occult.’’ One of my most beloved semi-urban myths/ modern fables/ occult instances/…

The Forest of Wool and Steel

Title: The Forest of Wool and Steel   (Original Title:羊と鋼の森) Writer: Natsu Miyashita Publishing House: Penguin Random House UK Date of Publication: April 25th 2019  (first published September 2015) Rating: 5 stars ‘’Inhale the scent of a forest close by. I can smell the earthy fragrance of autumn as night falls, the leaves gently rustling, I can feel the damp air…

Μystical Britain and Ireland

Title: Mystical Britain and Ireland Writer: Richard Jones (photography by John Mason) Publishing House: New Holland Australia Date of Publication: August 10th 2006 (first published 2003) Rating: 5 stars ‘’Those who pace its lanes and squares may yet hear the echoes of their footsteps on the sounding stones and read upon its gates…’’Who enters here leaves noise behind.’’ Charles Dickens…

Yesterday, at the Hotel Clarendon

Τitle: Yesterday, at the Hotel Clarendon Writer: Nicole Brossard (translated by Susanne De Lotbinière- Harwood Publishing House: Coach House Books Date of Publication: 2005 (first published March 19th 2001) Rating: 5 stars ‘’I take the opportunity to lend an ear to ambient life with an eagerness I never suspected. The idea of remaining calm doesn’t displease me. Some days I…

Flights

Title: Flights (original title: Bieguni ) Writer: Olga Tokarczuk (translated by Jennifer Croft) Publishing House: Fitzcarraldo Editions Date of Publication: May 17th 2017 (first published September 2007) Rating: 5 stars ‘’Each of my pilgrimages aims at some other pilgrim. In this case the pilgrim is in pieces, broken down.’’ This might very well be the first time that I have…

Magdalene: Poems

Title: Magdalene: Poems Writer: Maria Howe Publishing House: W. W. Norton Company Date of Publication: August 28th 2018 (first published March 28th 2017) Rating: 5 stars ‘’I liked Hell, I liked to go there alone relieved to lie in the wreckage, ruined, physically undone. The worst had happened. What else could hurt me then? I thought it was the worst,…

Fear and His Servant

Title: Fear and His Servant   (original title: Strah i njegov sluga ) Writer: Mirjana Novaković Publishing House: Peter Owen Publishers (originally published by Beograd:ReVision Publishing) Date of Publication:  April 1st 2018 (first published 1999) Rating: 5 stars ‘’Like everyone else, I want gifts that come from the heart, the gift without a price. I’ve wondered this earth for such a long…

The Artist Who Loved Cats: The Inspiring Tale of Théophile – Alexandre Steinlen

Title: The Artist Who Loved Cats: The Inspiring Tale of Théophile – Alexandre Steinlen Writer: Susan Schaefer Bernardo (illustrations by Courtenay Fletcher) Publishing House: Inner Flower Child Books Date of Publication: June 6th 2019 Rating: 5 stars ‘’Where shall I start? How does an artist begin to make art?’’ Paris is a city forever linked with certain images in…

Mars

Title: Mars: Stories Writer: Asja Bakić (translated by Jennifer Zoble) Publishing House: The Feminist Press at CUNY Date of Publication: March 19th 2019 (first published 2015) Rating: 5 stars ‘’Death is typically a European film. The scenes are evocative, the atmosphere and characters charged. But in my case, death took a different form.’’ When you start reading a book and…

The Dollmaker

Title: The Dollmaker Writer: Nina Allan Publishing House: Quercus Books Date of Publication: April 4th 2019 Rating: 5 stars ‘’In 21 cases there was death but no burial; in 10, funerals but no burials; in 8, funerals but no death.’’ Dolls never found a top spot in my favourite toys list. My mum didn’t like them at all but my…

Her Kind

Title: Her Kind Writer: Niamh Boyce Publishing House: Penguin UK Date of Publication: April 4th 2019 Rating: 1 star ‘’Our eyes will go to the worms And our livers will be given as food to the parish dogs. The hair will be torn from our heads The flesh flayed from our bones. They’ll find apple seeds and gooseberry skins…

Dylan Thomas – The Collected Stories

Title: The Collected Stories by Dylan Thomas Writer: Dylan Thomas Publishing House: New Directions Date of Publication: October 17th 1986 (first published June 1st 1983) Rating: 5 stars ‘’He would think that love fails on such nights, and that many of its children are cut down.’’ Dylan Thomas is the writer who made me love poetry with his dark imagery…

Desire

Title: Desire: Vintage Minis Writer: Haruki Murakami (translated by Jay Rubin, Ted Goossen and Philip Gabriel Publishing House: Vintage Classics Date of Publication: June 8th 2017 Rating: 5 stars ”Which is to say that wrong choices can produce right results, and vice versa. I myself have adopted the position that, in fact, we never choose anything at all. Things happen….

The Daughters of Salem: How We Sent Our Children to their Deaths

Title: The Daughters of Salem: How We Sent Our Children to their Deaths Writer: Thomas Gilbert Publishing House: Europe Comics Date of Publication: January 23rd 2019 Rating: 1 star Last year, my partner persuaded me to start appreciating the graphic novel. You see, Stephen King’s The Dark Tower saga is his Bible, so the graphic novels of the series…

Lakeland Folk Tales for Children

Title: Lakeland Folk Tales For Children Writer: Taffy Thomas Publishing House: The History Press Date of Publication: January 1st 2017 Rating: 5 stars ‘’I’m a teller of tales, a spinner of yarns, A weaver of dreams and a liar. I’ll teach you some stories to tell to Your friends, While sitting at home by the fire.’’ ‘’The Storyteller’’ by Mike…

When We Were Birds

Title: When We Were Birds Writer: Maria Mutch Publishing House: Simon & Schuster Canada Date of Publication: April 24th 2018 Rating: 5 stars ‘’Snow falls on the shoulders of people passing, it lands on the pavement and vanishes, more lands and sticks.  She watches the crystals clump, tumble, and it is twilight and the lights of the restaurants and…

Belladonna

Title: Belladonna Writer: Daša Drndić (translated by Celia Hawkesworth) Publishing House: New Directions Date of Publication: October 24th 2017 (first published November 1st 2012) Rating: 5 stars ‘’And the wind brought people who had let their plows rust; solitary people tiling the sky, reaping the harvests of summer nights, the fat grain of early straws, leaving it all unwinnowed. Instead…

Sping: An Anthology for the Changing Seasons

Title: Spring: An Anthology for the Changing Seasons Writer: edited by Melissa Harrison Publishing House: Elliott & Thompson Date of Publication: February 18th 2016 Rating: 5 stars ‘’It is Spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black, the cobblestreets silent and the hunched courters’ – and rabbits’ wood limping invisible down to the shoe-black, slow, black, crowblack, fishingboat-…

Za uvek i dan više (Forever and a Day)

  Title: Forever And A Day (original title: Za uvek i dan više) Writer: Milorad Pavić Publishing House: Dereta Date of Publication: April 2nd 2012 (first published 1993) Rating: 5 stars ‘’When someone dies, this means that a stranger wanted to tell us something important. Every death is, in fact, a word. And all our deaths create a long, unread…

The Conviction of Cora Burns

Title: The Conviction of Cora Burns Writer: Carolyn Kirby Publishing House: Dzanc Books Date of Publication: March 21st 2019 Rating: 5 stars ‘’Cora Burns. Born to crime.’’ A young woman, named Cora Burns, hears the gates of Birmingham Gaol closing behind her. She is free from her incarceration but not from her past. A horrible dead has been haunting her…

Wailing Ghosts

Title: Wailing Ghosts Writer: Pu Songling Publishing House: Penguin Classics Date of Publication: February 26th 2015 (first published 1740) Rating: 5 stars ‘’I can make the seasons go backwards, and turn the order of nature upside down.’’ Pu Songling’s best known work is a collection of haunting stories with the title Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio. I chose to…

Dark Quartet

Title: Dark Quartet Writer: Lynne Reid Banks Publishing House: Sapere Books Date of Publication: June 26th 2018 (first published January 1st 1976) Rating: 1 star ‘’You know, Charlotte, I sometimes think – don’t laugh, will you?- that Emily’s strength comes from the moors. She’s like a tree, planted tree, and if she’s uprooted it won’t matter how tough her…

The Snakes

Title: The Snakes Writer: Sadie Jones Publishing House: Random House UK Date of Publication:March 7th 2019 Rating: 4 stars ‘’We were a family and now we’re not any more. We’re the wrong number. It’s all wrong. I can’t cry. I can’t.’’ The times we live in are uncertain, turbulent, obscure. Financial insecurity, fear caused by leaders who dream of…

Mortals and Immortals of Greek Mythology

Title: Mortals and Immortals of Greek Mythology Writer:  Françoise Rachmuhl, Charlotte Gastaut (Illustrator) Publishing House: Lion Forge Date of Publication: September 18th 2018 Rating: 3 stars Greek Mythology provides an endless wealth of inspiration for graphic novels, children’s books and every form of fiction. Most of the times, however, the results are not encouraging. This book narrates the stories of the Olympians,…

The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories

Title: The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories Writer: Tim Burton Publishing House: Faber & Faber Date of Publication: October 4th 2018 (first published 1997) Rating: 5 stars ‘’The final gasp of his short life Was sickly with despair. Whoever thought that you could die From breathing outdoor air?’’ For most lovers of the 7th Art, Tim Burton…

Be With Me Always

Title: Be With Me Always Writer: Randon Billings Noble Publishing House: University of Nebraska Press Date of Publication: March 1st 2019 Rating: 4 stars ‘’Be with me always – take any form- drive me mad! Only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! ‘’              Heathcliff to Cathy, ‘’Wuthering Heights’’ These are the most beautiful,…

In the Full Light of the Sun

Title: In the Full Light of the Sun Writer: Clare Clark Publishing House: Virago Date of Publication: February 28th 2019 Rating: 1 star ‘’You think knowing you can never change that the rottenness is too deep – rooted in you, that it’s part of who you are, you think that makes anything better, that it stops the guilt, the…

Cala

Title: Cala Writer: Laura Legge Publishing House: Head of Zeus Date of Publication: March 7th 2019 Rating: 4 stars ‘’The four women of Cala sat in its dining room on the autumn equinox, wearing garlands of ash and hazel, visible to one another only by candlelight.’’ In a farmhouse somewhere in the Outer Hebrides, four women have decided to live…

Visitation

Title: Visitation (original title Heimsuchung) Writer: Jenny Erpenbeck (translated by Susan Bernofsky) Publishing House: New Directions Date of Publication: September 30th 2010 (first published February 2nd 2008) Rating: 5 stars ‘’In a household where a death has taken place, the clock must be stopped at once.’’ It is easy to stop the clocks when Death has arrived in a house. The…

The Iliad

Title: The Iliad Writer: Adapted by Gareth Hinds Publishing House: Candlewick Press Date of Publication: March 12th 2019 Rating: 5 stars ‘’How I wish that Discord could be banished from the world.’’ There have been many novels that chose the greatest war story of all time as their setting. Trilogies, plays, you name it. This graphic novel by Gareth Hinds…

A Cat, A Hat and a Piece of String

Title: A Cat, A Hat and A Piece Of String Writer: Joanne Harris Publishing House: Black Swan Date of Publication: January 16th 2014 (first published November 8th 2012) Rating: 4 stars ‘’I see now that there can be no leaving. I am a broken clock, frozen forever at an impossible hour. Let others move on, if they must, if they…

The Familiars

Title: The Familiars Writer: Stacey Halls Publishing House: MIRA Date of Publication: February 19th 2019 (first published February 7th 2019) Rating: 5 stars ‘’Justice means fairness. Luck of prejudice.’’ I’ve always loved Pendle Hill and the stories of the women who were accused of witchcraft during one of the darkest moments in the history of Europe. The fascinating legends found…

The World of Lore: Dreadful Places

Title: The World of Lore: Dreadful Places Writer: Aaron Mahnke Publishing House: Del Rey Books Date of Publication: October 9th 2018 Rating: 2 stars ‘’Staring into the now-open cell, his heart froze. The walls inside, he said, were covered with faces. Dozens and dozens of faces, their expressions writhing with agony and horror.’’ The second installment in Aaron Mahnke’s series…

The White Book

Title: The White Book    (original title: 흰) Writer: Han Kang Publishing House: Granta Books Date of Publication: November 2nd 2017 (first published May 25th 2016) Rating: 5 stars ‘’I hold nothing dear. Not the place where I live, not the door I pass through every day, not even, damn it, my life.’’’ In the beautiful, mysterious world of…

Once Upon A River

  Title: Once Upon A River Writer: Diane Setterfield Publishing House: Penguin Random House UK Date of Publication: January 24th 2019 (first published December 4th 2018) Rating: 5 stars ‘’Around Radcot they grow the watercress, harvest it, crate it up and send it to the towns in barges, but they don’t eat it. It’s bitter, they complain, so bitter it…

Imaginarium

Title: Imaginarium Writer & Illustrator: Giorgos Halkias Publishing House: Eκδόσεις ΦΑΡΦΟΥΛΑΣ Date of Publication: September 2016 Rating: 5 stars ‘’For years I was afraid to play The fool. So I built up walls Ten miles high And from this view I saw that I Had only played myself.’’ A beautiful surprise created by a Greek artist that results in a…

Village of Stone

Title: Village of Stone (original title: 我心中的石头镇 ) Writer: Xiaolu Guo Publishing House: Vintage Date of Publication: January 31st 2012  (first published January 1st 2003) Rating: 5 stars ‘’But the Village of Stone- that tiny corner of the sea that, on a map of China, appears as nothing more than a deep blue stain, with no air or shipping routes to…

Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women & Witchcraft

Title: Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women & Witchcraft Writer: Various edited by Jessica Spotswood & Tess Sharpe Publishing House: HarperCollins Date of Publication: September 1st 2018 Rating: 4 stars ‘’Scorn the witch. Fear the witch. Burn the witch.’’ If we substitute the word ‘’witch’’ with the word ‘’woman’’, we will be able to understand the reasons and…

Blackberry and Wild Rose

Title: Blackberry and Wild Rose Writer: Sonia Velton Publishing House: Quercus Date of Publication: January 10th 2019 Rating: 3 stars ‘’But there are no secrets in London. Even the houses lean across the narrow alleys towards each other and offer up their scandals in the blink of an open curtain.’’ A woman is trying to break the norms of…

Chinese Ghost Stories

Title: Chinese Ghost Stories: Curious Tales of the Supernatural Writer: Lafcadio Hearn Publishing House: Tuttle Publishing Date of Publication:  September 10th 2011 (first published 1887) Rating:  4 stars “You will ask me who she was-beautiful Xue Tao…Gor thousands of years and even longer, the trees have been whispering over her stony bed. And the syllables of her name reach…