Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

IT book of the Summer: 2017 Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman   I'm not normally one to read the IT books of the summer. When a book garners too much attention, I get suspicious. When I get suspicious, I reach for something else. The quality of popular books is too unreliable, too …

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Nailing Jess by Triona Scully – but mostly, a lecture on craft

Every now and then I make a mad grab for a book, something I run across serendipitously while perusing bookshop events or stumble over in my email. A title or description will catch my eye, I'll shoot off an email to the publisher and request a review copy. How often this works out satisfactorily to …

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Walter Scott Prize goes to…. and a John Cleese event

  After all the build up, an exciting evening was had at the Walter Scott Prize event. Having read all the shortlist candidates save one, determining Sebastian Barry's Days Without End the rightful winner, he did, indeed, come away with the award. http:// It was an unseasonably warm day last Saturday. Temperatures were in the 20s …

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Walter Scott Prize Shortlist: Jo Baker & Francis Spufford, plus a recap

  As time draws to a close before the prize winner is announced tomorrow in Melrose, Scotland, it's time to opine on the last two novels from the shortlist which I'd planned to read and talk about. Namely: A Country Road, A Tree by Jo Baker and Francis Spufford's Golden Hill.         …

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Walter Scott Prize shortlist: Hannah Kent’s ‘The Good People’

  So much for leaving Hannah Kent's book for last, as I'd planned. Picking it up for a short peruse, I found it such an easy read I finished in a couple protracted reading sessions. The Good People is set in County Kerry, Ireland in 1825. Beginning with the sudden, unexpected death of Martin Leahy …

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Walter Scott Prize Shortlist: Rose Tremain’s ‘The Gustav Sonata’

  I've been trotting around Scotland over the past few days, traveling to the Isle of Arran and riding through the western coast of the mainland. Though I took along a book, I didn't have much time for reading. There's just been too much to see, like this:   And this:     Also, lots …

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Walter Scott Prize Shortlist: Sebastian Barry’s ‘Days Without End’

My distraction throughout the reading of Barry's book is no reflection on it, nor its quality. The same happened when I read Graham Swift's Walter Scott-nominated Mothering Sunday, though in reading back through a second time I was moved by its beauty. The inability to fully fall into Days Without End is about my current life …

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Walter Scott Prize 2017 Shortlist: Graham Swift’s ‘Mothering Sunday’

  This year's Shortlist for the Walter Scott Prize consists of seven novels: four by female authors, and three by men. There's Sebastian Barry, who's Irish, Hannah Kent from Australia, and the rest are English. Interesting no Scots made the Shortlist - not that there must be. I am, as I said earlier, hoping to …

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