Book Review: Warlight by Michael Ondaatje

*Contains no spoilers Right from the start I was hooked on this novel by the celebrated author Michael Ondaatje who wrote the classic The English Patient which won the Booker Prize in 1992 and was turned into an equally successful film. His follow up, Anil's Ghost failed to hit the mark, at least for me.…

Every Picture Tells a Story: Lake Menteith in the fading light of a winters night

Comforting thought: The World of Terrifying Beauty By Karl Ove Knausgård

I remained where I was, standing with one hand in my pocket and the other around the handle of the pram. The triviality of the ketchup and mustard bottles, the blackened hotdogs. The camping table where the soft drinks were lined up, was almost inconceivable there beneath the stars, the dancing light of the bonfire.…

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…

Travel: Eileann Donan Castle, Kyle of Lochalsh, Scotland. Copyright Content Catnip 2010

Ancient Word of the Day: Hooly

Hooly or Huly: Adv. 'To proceed gently or softly, with steadiness or caution.' Scottish/Irish The word Hooly first appeared in English in the 14th Century. It was found in the Scottish expression Hooly and Fairly, meaning 'to proceed slowly, carefully and cautiously.' Over time, the word came to have negative connotations and hooliness or hulinesss…

Olivia Laing, The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone

Ancient Word of the Day: Lacuna

Lacuna \ lə-​ˈkü-​nər a little lake. Or a pause, gap or break in a text, painting or musical work. Latin lacūna: “little lake”. Word of the day: “lacuna”- in a manuscript, an inscription, or the text of an author: a hiatus, blank, missing portion (OED n.1) A word borrowed from Latin in the 17th Century…

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.…

Ancient Word of the Day: Vellichor

Ancient Word of the Day: Vellichor

Noun: Vellichor from the Latin Vell (paper) and ichor (essence). An ethereal perfume that is extruded from the earth and infuses old book stores with mystery, wistfulness and nostalgia. Books are worlds unto themselves that reveal tiny and huge universes all co-existing side-by-side. The aroma of books is the smell of the passage of time.…

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…

10 Interesting Things I Found on the Internet this Week #14

10 Interesting Things I Found on the Internet this Week #14

1. Nick Cave performing Stagger Lee in Copenhagen is electrifying I have seen Nick live three times so far and his live performances of this song Stagger Lee are always a big highlight. The song escalates and gets harder, darker and more intense as it goes on. This is definitely my favourite Nick Cave song…

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…

François Schuiten’s steampunk cityscapes 'Les Cités obscures'

10 Interesting Things I found on the Internet #13

1. Chilled out hip-hop grooves from Emapea - Seeds, Roots & Fruits https://youtu.be/uGZJ2UALHME 2. These book-rescuing heroes don't wear capes https://www.reddit.com/r/interestingasfuck/comments/hjey9s/turkish_garbage_collectors_open_a_library_with/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x 3. François Schuiten’s steampunk cityscapes 'Les Cités obscures' Immense skyscrapers and towering monoliths dwarf the citizenry in François Schuiten’s 'Les Cités obscures', a graphic novel series (1983–present) that captures the steampunk modernist aesthetic. Read…

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…

Anaïs Nin on why she writes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-dRf7Zxf8Q We write to taste life twice...in the moment and in retrospection. Those few moments of communion with the world are worth the pain. Writing is worth it for others. It's an inheritance for others. A gift to others in the end. One has to create a world in which to live. I could not…

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…