Book Review: Names for the Sea by Sarah Moss

Book Review: Names for the Sea by Sarah Moss

*contains a few spoilers (sorry I couldn't resist) Iceland has always held a unique fascination for me. Driven by a love for Sigur Rós and Björk, along with the vague romance of going to a remote and icy place. In Names for the Sea by Sarah Moss, you get to actually explore the nuts and…

An Anatomical Guide to Godzilla and other Gigantic Japanese monsters

An Anatomical Guide to Godzilla and other Gigantic Japanese Monsters

These amazing diagrams showing a medical cross–section of Godzilla along with other Japanese monsters such as Mothra, Gamera and Agurius. These illustrations were created in 1967 by Shogo Endo for a book called 'An Anatomical Guide to Monsters'. This cult book was crafted by Shoji Otomo (writer) along with Shogo Endo (illustrator) (1967). An Anatomical…

Book Review: Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss

Book Review: Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss

*No spoilers A book about experimental archaeology and family violence that’s brimming with glorious dread and that closes in around you like a vice. The novel's short 160 pages are absolutely electrifying and seem far bigger. Best enjoyed during the witching hours of 11pm and 3 am. Ghost Wall opens with an ancient hair-raising scene,…

Book Review: The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss

Book Review: The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss

*No spoilers "We all live in patterns we do not see. We are all following magic ravens, even when we are lost. Otherwise there would be no story." ~ Sarah Moss, The Tidal Zone. Sarah Moss is now my favourite writer. She seems to be a occupied with the lives of women. However in this…

Seven suspenseful and unforgettable historical novels

Seven suspenseful and unforgettable historical novels

Great historical novels are fully immersed in time, place and have a tangible effect of bringing you into a time period that you may otherwise never know. This is what’s truly exhilerating about the historical novel. The setting and surroundings become like a fully formed character in the novel. Whether we’re talking about a British…

Historic Jukebox: Everything But the Girl, Deep Dish and Patrick Hamilton

Book Review: Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky: A London Trilogy by Patrick Hamilton

*No spoilers Patrick Hamilton isn't really as well known as he should be, which is a crime and a shame. He is a fantastic and yet underrated British writers of the post-war era. You may recognise his work in the play Rope which was turned into a well-known Alfred Hitchcock film of the same name.…

Travel: Weird subway ads in Japan

Seven Unique and Moving Fictional Books Set in Japan

Japan is a country close to my heart and since I first went there a few years ago, I have become a big fan of Japanese fiction and Asian fiction translated to English. Japanese fiction tends to emphasise the liminal and fantasy aspects hidden at the edges of everyday reality and also exploring the inner…

Book Review: Lost Wisdom by Una McGovern and Paul Jenner

Ten Quirky and Mind Expanding History Books

Here’s a collection of the best and treasured history books that I don’t think I could ever part with. They are quirky and delve into a little known aspect of history making them delightful lazy weekend reading. I hope you can get a hold of them, if you do...please let me know what you think…

Book Review: Lost Wisdom by Una McGovern and Paul Jenner

Book Review: Lost Wisdom by Una McGovern and Paul Jenner

Lost Wisdom and its two other companion books Lost Crafts and Lost Lore are beautifully typeset and laid out. Their contents are a cabinet of curiosities - a wunderkammer of the same sort as the Book of Barely Imagined Beings, which I have mentioned in the past. Although in this case Lost Wisdom runs the…

Book Review: All that Remains: A Life in Death by Sue Black

Book Review: All that Remains: A Life in Death by Sue Black

Scottish Forensic Anthropologist and Professor Sue Black's memoir about her life confronting death won the Saltire Book of the Year in 2018. Forensic anthropology (in case you are wondering) is the study of human remains in order to solve criminal cases. I was very excited to read this book. Yet the first few chapters of…

Book Review: The Sky Atlas: The Greatest Map Myths and Discoveries of the Universe by Edward Brooke-Hitching

Book Review: The Sky Atlas by Edward Brooke Hitching

Edward Brooke Hitching, history-hound, lover of quirky things and writer for the ever-popular and erudite quiz show QI, has written The Sky Atlas. A treasury and history of some of humankind’s most beautiful maps and charts. Yet this book is more than that, it’s a sparkling and glittering array of sky-bound achievements. It’s a visual…

Book Review: His Bloody Project by Graeme MacRae Burnet

His Bloody Project by author Graeme Macrae Burnet recounts the story of the triple murder and subsequent trial of accused 17 year old crofter Roderick McRae, who brutally slays three people in his remote village in 1896. Roderick lives with his family in a tiny croft on a property and land owned by the laird. His…

Book Review: The Recovering Intoxication and its Aftermath by Leslie Jamieson

Book Review: The Recovering Intoxication and its Aftermath by Leslie Jamieson

The Recovering is a memoir about alcohol and how it runs rampant in the lives of writers and artists throughout history. It’s seen through the lens of the book’s author, Leslie Jameson as she navigates her way through life and the being drunk and being in recovery. Jamieson clearly has a knack for the written…

Book Review: Tulip Fever by Deborah Moggach

Book Review: Tulip Fever by Deborah Moggach

Tulip Fever is one of the most captivating historical fiction reads I have had the pleasure of enjoying in recent years. Tulip Fever takes place in Amsterdam in the 1630's during a time of immense wealth that is brought into the country by merchants and tulip sellers. If you enjoyed that other iconic historical novel…

Book Review: The Pine Islands by Marion Poschmann

Book Review: The Pine Islands by Marion Poschmann

*No spoilers Recently translated into English from German, The Pine Islands tells the story of Gilbert Silvester, a stuffy middle-aged lecturer in Germany. His area of academic specialisation is beard fashions in film. One day he finds out his wife is cheating on him (or so he believes, we never discover the truth). So he…

Not the End of the World by Kate Atkinson

Book Review: Not the End of the World by Kate Atkinson

Kate Atkinson achieved great fame for her book Life After Life. This is one of her earlier and lesser known collections of short stories. I have to admit I never got into Life After Life, so I was a bit dubious about whether or not I would like this one. However, I was absolutely transfixed…

Book Review: Medieval Bodies: Life and Death in the Middle Ages by Jack Hartnell

Book Review: Medieval Bodies Life and Death in the Middle Ages by Jake Hartnell

Art Historian Jake Hartnell takes us on a macabre and enthralling journey from head to toe in the medieval human body. This is fascinating because, even though we share the same bodies as our medieval ancestors, we had wildly diverging beliefs about the inherent symbolic power of parts of our bodies and what could heal,…

Book Review: Island of Wings by Karin Altenberg https://wp.me/p41CQf-KRb

Six Exciting Frontier Novels Set at the Extreme Edges of Civilisation

Sometimes you want to be right there at the edge of an icy cliff staring death right in the face. But not really, just in your imagination. Here are some poetic, beautifully written and profound adventure and survival stories that will take you to dangerous places, without having to leave your sofa. To the Bright…

Book Review: The Lives of the Surrealists by Desmond Morris

Book Review: The Lives of the Surrealists by Desmond Morris

This is an incredible book. Written by Desmond Morris who is a prominent Zoologist and well-known for his book The Naked Ape. It's possibly less widely known that Morris was himself a surrealist and knew many of the prominent surrealists in the art movement. I have to admit not knowing much about Surrealism prior to…

The Book of Symbols: Reflections of Archetypal Images by the Archive for Research into Archetypal Sybolism (Taschen)

Book Review: The Book of Symbols by the Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism (ARAS)

The Book of Symbols is a masterpiece of art history, philosophy, mysticism, psychology, anthropology, biology and spirituality. It brings together the history of various symbols, concepts and objects from many cultures and civilisations.

A tribute to the phenomenal Scottish writer William McIllvanney

Book Review: Docherty by William McIlvanney

An epic story of a mining family at the beginning of the 20th Century by Scottish national treasure William McIlvanney. The Dochertys live in the fictional town of Graithnock in Ayrshire, Scotland. The clan are headed by Tam, a hard man but a good hearted one who lifts up his son on the day he…

Book Review: SPQR by Mary Beard

Book Review: SPQR by Mary Beard

I really wanted to love this book because I am a huge Mary Beard fan and I love her enthusiastic, passionate and fascinating documentaries about the Romans. As a novice to this topic, I was really craving a book that would educate me and also sustain my interest. About a decade ago, I waded through…

The world according to Anton Chekhov

The world according to Anton Chekhov

Anton Chekhov defied description with his writing. With his limber and sharp mind he was able to craft and bring alive 18th Century Russia in such a delicate, poignant and deeply emotional way that it will leave you breathless and gasping. To read his short stories is to be plunged into a completely different realm.…

Athena Expelling the Vices from the Garden of Virtue 1502 by Andrea Mantegna

Opening Pandora’s Box: Phrases Borrowed from the Classics and the Stories Behind Them by Ferdie Addis

If you are in love with language, storytelling, folklore or classical history then you will love this book. It’s short at only 162 pages. However Opening Pandora’s Box punches well above its weight in terms of quality with many amusing and shocking stories from classical history to enjoy.