Books

Review: The River Within by Karen Powell Rating 72%

Review: The River Within by Karen Powell

Historical fiction writer, Karen Powell, has new novel, The River Within, out via Europa Editions. Set in Yorkshire in the 1950s there is traditional setting to this text, which makes it comparable to the work of Thomas Hardy and Helen Dunmore. Flawed characters and the surroundings expectedly make up the crux of this novel, a page-turning saga.

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Review: Life Without Air by Daisy Lafarge Rating 77%

Review: Life Without Air by Daisy Lafarge

A confrontational debut collection exploring our intimate and ecological dependencies, Life Without Air is a vivid and evocative collection of poems from Daisy Lafarge. Forcing us to consider the parasitic elements of toxic relationships, Daisy uses a real variety of techniques to confound us as readers, and almost add to a feeling of combustion that we can sense from the writing.

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Review: Only Human by Diane Chandler Rating 84%

Review: Only Human by Diane Chandler

Family relationships are tricky. We all know it. Even within the happiest and most seemingly perfect families, there are underlying tensions, stories from the past, remarks that still make us wince for years. However, Diane Chandler takes the structure and complexity of a family to a new level in Only Human. As the title suggests, in the end of the day we are only human, and mistakes happen.

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Review: Neu! Reekie! – #UntitledThree Rating 76%

Review: Neu! Reekie! – #UntitledThree

The Edinburgh-based collective, Neu! Reekie! have reached the mature age of ten, and to celebrate they have published a wonderful collection of poems and plays (combined with a download code for music). This collection encapsulates how broadly they span, as this feels like a book of global significance, and not just including poets from simply Scotland’s capital.

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Review: The Mothers by Brit Bennett Rating 83%

Review: The Mothers by Brit Bennett

Having been excited to pick up a Brit Bennett title, after the acclaim The Vanishing Half received, there was part of me particularly keen to enjoy The Mothers, but not in the way that I actually did. Published by Dialogue back in July it has already been considered a New York Times bestseller. Brit Bennett is churning out these visual novels, with film deals not long behind them no doubt, and she makes it very difficult to put them down.

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Review: Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart Rating 98%

Review: Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart

It is one of life’s irony that the better the book you read is, the harder it is to put into a review exactly how much you enjoyed it. I usually take Booker Prize nominees with a pinch of salt, but Shuggie Bain is a worthy shortlisted nominee. The book is stunning and what is more it is Stuart’s debut, and I am amazed at his talent and craftsmanship.

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Review: Intimacies by Lucy Caldwell Rating 76%

Review: Intimacies by Lucy Caldwell

Sadly the publishing industry like every other has had to adapt to the sudden turn of events that look place in March/April 2020, and that meant many books were delayed in publication. Intimacies by Lucy Caldwell was one of those, as it was originally scheduled to come out that year.

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Review: Intimations by Zadie Smith Rating 77%

Review: Intimations by Zadie Smith

A thoroughly deep and soul-searching set of timely essays on the lockdown experience, Zadie Smith’s Intimations are precisely that, with an observational and astute tone to the work. From the critically acclaimed author of Feel Free, Swing Time, White Teeth, Intimations is a wonderfully short 82 pages that consider many aspects of lockdown, reaching far beyond the surface with these deliberations.

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Review: Crud 1 by Al White Rating 92%

Review: Crud 1 by Al White

Al White, aka DJ Crud, is part of Glasgow record label 12th Isle, renowned for the visionary aesthetic of White’s cover and flyer art as well as for the exploratory and diverse musical output of their roster, and the creative decor and staging of their club nights. I think it’s fair to say that White’s work as a designer has had a big impact, with his imaginative art and layouts clearly an influence on a lot of others in recent years, so when I heard that he’d self-published a book, I had to have a look!

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Review: My Life as a Cat by Carlie Sorosiak Rating 95%

Review: My Life as a Cat by Carlie Sorosiak

In her book Why You Should Read Children’s Books, Even Though You are So Old and Wise, Katherine Rundell says that “Children’s novels say: “look, this is what bravery looks like. This is what generosity looks like. They tell me, through the medium of wizard, lions and talking spiders, that this world we live in is a world of people who tell jokes and work and endure. Children’s books say the world is huge.” And this has never been truer when reading and discussing the writing of Carlie Sorosiak. Having read and loved her last 9-12 book I, Cosmo last year, I knew I was in for a treat when I got my hands on a copy of My Life as a Cat. Carlie Sorosiak really had the gift of distilling humanity and showing us the really important things in life: cheese sandwiches, spending time with your loved ones, enjoying a day by the sea. This is why upon finishing her new cat adventure, I have been recommending it to everyone both young and old.

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