, , , , , ,


So……..I have dusted off my wings, – or, at least attempted to exercise them into non-biceps-and-booksexistence .

Provoked by a reminder of the bingo by blog-world’s Queen of Jersey
Cleopatralovesbooks – who…managed to complete her own Bingo – well done Cleo!  –

I thought I must see how I would fare

And, breaking all the keep them guessing mystery writing rules, you can see, by the title that I didn’t get quite past that finishing line. Alas, no Brownlee brother was there to support me, gasping and dizzy, and help me to complete my readathon Bingo

There are links to all the original reviews on book titles within text, not the pictures……and also, links to other blogs in places where thanks are due…….


More than 500 –This is a straight steal from Cleo’s over 500 – I didn’t list the page numbers so though I knew this was a long one, it was a quick cert for a 500 without more checking. Jodi Picoult’s  Small Great Things unhappily seems a particularly pertinent look at prejudice, and  more than ever important in what has been a disastrous political year, on both sides of the pond, and wider.

Forgotten ClassicHE Bates The Triple Echo was a film I saw many years ago, and a recent discovery of Bates sent me on a search for the book that gave rise to that film. What a marvellously crafted writer he is, and this one is another book which in many ways, seems remarkably ahead of its time, though subtly hinting at something that I suspect that present day marketing departments might have wanted a writer to be lurid about

A Book That Became A Movie I suppose I could have had the Bates, above, in this slot, and had John Fowles – The French Lieutenant’s Woman as the forgotten classic. Both good films, but I suspect the Bates novella is more apt as ‘the forgotten’ though the wonderful Fowles IS reissued in Penguin Modern Classics, deservedly. Fowles, writing later, is perhaps less forgotten in-the-mists

A Book Published This Year The insufficiently well-known Patrick Flanery’s thrid book was published this year. I Am No One may not quite reach the spectacular level set by his first two books, but I can’t resist any opportunity to fly the flag for this wonderfully astute, subtle and excellent writer. Once again, unfortunately, world events seem to make this an even more sober and important read about the surveillance society.

A Book With A Number in the Title Alison Weir Six Tudor Queens Katherine of Aragon Now, Alas, I did not fall overboard enough in enthusiasm for Weir’s first in a series of fictional accounts of 6 unhappy ladies, to review it on the blog. However should you BURN to read my account of it, follow the permalink for my Amazon review, This was a Vine book, so I HAD to review it there


A Book Written By Someone Under Thirty Many of my very best reads this year have been re-reads. I’m tempted to say most of them, as I have had a standout year reading favourites from my teens and twenties. Alain Fournier’s only book was written before he was thirty, and is incandescent.  Fournier died, aged 27, one of the many millions scythed down in the First World War. Le Grand Meaulnes is an elegaic, dreamlike book, one which felt far richer read as an adult, than it did when I was the age of the teen aged central characters, and first read, and never forgot the book

A Book With Non-Human Characters  A recent re-read of another book from childhood is this magical one from Paul Gallico. Jennie should find particular favour from the cat-adorers amongst us. Many, I suspect, as reading and cats go together superbly, as they often involve the seductive availabilty of laps. particularly if the book is absorbing enough to keep the reader pinned to a comfortable chair. The adventures of a white cat called Peter and an appealing Scottish cat called Jennie shouild warm the cockles of all hearts, though the ailurophiles will be certain pushovers

A Funny Book The wonderful Jane from Beyond Eden Rock banged drums for the delightful wit and sparkle of Marjorie Sharp. Readers wantiing to make her acquaintance now can, with ease, thanks in no small part to the efforts of Jane and others who whipped up the rest of us to hunt down long falling to pieces second hand copies, rare as hen’s teeth. Open Road Media, a brilliant epublishing company, have reissued ten of her titles. Now, come on, you know you want to join Jane’s celebration of Marjorie’s birthday next month (January 25th), so follow the Open Road link and buy a happy Marjorie. We really need her to make us see the world can still be a warm and kindly place. I think the inauguration of the Deplorable, and the 2017 triggering of Article 50 must have me heading Marjorie-Wards. Here is the enchanting Cluny Brown

A Book By A Female Author I think it’s probably largely due to HeavenAli’s Woolfalong that she must win my ‘the blogger who got me to read most of my best reads of 2016’ awards. All my Woolfs, almost entirely re-reads, fill slots in the Bingo To The Lighthouse was a particular potent Voyage Out (see what I did there?) as it is a book which has some particular, personal meaning for me.

A Book With A Mystery  I had adored Eowyn Ivey’s first novel, The Snow Child. So I was completely delighted to find that her very different second  To the Bright Edge of the World was as memorable and magical, though in a different kind of way


A Book With A One Word Title  And here we are, back with Virginia Woolf again. Orlando was the first Woolf I ever read, in my teens, and what a fizzy, playful delight it is.

A Book of Short Stories  I loved Michael Cunningham’s   A Wild Swan and other tales, beautifully illustrated, subversive fairy stories. It’s particularly apposite he follows, and precedes also, another Woolf title on the Bingo, as he wrote the book The Hours (from which an acclaimed film was made), with Woolf, her writing and her life, as a theme. It has been long on my TBR and needs to move to ‘Having Been Read’ and, no doubt, if my enjoyment of his writing here, indicates, reviewed on the blog.

Free Square  Who else but Virginia Woolf again, this time the marvellous lecture she gave, a sparkling, witty, imaginative classic of the feminist canon. In no way ‘worthy’ or dusty and  dry  A Room of One’s Own is a book which still, sadly is about battles which are still needing to be fought. Sorry to labour the point again, but the unfotunate election of a man to the highest office in the land despite expressed attitudes and actions towards women that should have died out well over a hundred years ago, show there is a long way to go.

A Book Set On A Different Continent So yet another wonderful re-read was set for me by the invitation to JacquiWine’s Jean Rhys Reading Week. The marvellous Rhys fills the ‘another continent’ slot for her Mainly West Indies set Wide Sargasso Sea a kind of companion novel or alternative view of Jane Eyre. This tells the story of Rochester’s Mad Wife.

A Book of Non-Fiction My re-reading of George Orwell ‘s  Homage to Catalonia, an account of his time with the POUM militia during the Spanish Civil War, is, again, thanks to another Blogger. In this case, Karen from Kaggsy’sbookishramblings. It was my read for her 1938 club


The First Book of A Favourite Author  So, no surprises, we stay with Woolf courtesy of Ali’s Woolfalong. and The Voyage Out I could also have had this in a book set on a different continent, due to its somewhere in South America setting. It’s less stylistically innovative than her later writing, but my, all that unique voice is unfolding 

A Book That You Heard About Online  So, my most recently reviewed title The Summer That Melted Everything perfectly qualifies, as it was one of the choices offered by my on-line bookclub!

A Best Selling Book Robert Harris’ Pope Election thriller Conclave also gives me the chance to link my oldest virtual bloggy (in fact, pre-bloggy) chum Fiction Fan, particularly as she encouraged me in the writing of a pretty please to Harris’ publisher for a review copy on the strength of previous 5 star reviews I’d given to Harris’ earlier works

A Book Based on a True Story  Thomas Keneally’s  Napoleon’s Last Island  was the fascinating story of the friendship between the Emperor, imprisoned on St. Helena and young Betsey, daughter of the Superintendent of Public Sales for the East India Company. It was one of those strange, but true, narratives

A Book at the Bottom of The TBR Pile  I had requested Alain de Botton’s part philosophical reflection, part novel structure around philosophy The Course of Love and I have no idea why it took me so long to embark on it. It was wonderful


A Book Your Friend Loves  As Cleo got me into trying this year’s Bingo it seems only fair to let her have the honour of  the Friend Loves slot – it was her review of  Anna Hope’s wonderful  The Ballroom that alerted me to the book

A Book That Scares You It was an earlier book by Michelle  Paver, another frozen setting in her Dark Matter, that filled this slot on an earlier challenge. And she scared me again with  Thin Air

A Book That Is More Than Ten Years Old Rather more than Ten Years Old is E. Nesbit’s wonderful The Railway Children first published in book form in 1906 – it had been serialised in a magazine, the previous year

The Second Book in a Series – Alas! Alas! Alas! No full card for me. This was, as I suspected it would be, once I looked at the card, my stumbling block. I’m not really a fan of ‘series’. Unless I have only just discovered the writer somewhere in that series and have been attempting a feverish re-read, this particular bingo is always likely to trip me up.  Mind you, that did happen with Tana French last year, and, if memory serves me well it was either Cleopatra or Jane, both of whom feature in my 2016 Bingo card, who introduced me to Ms French – I know one lured me with Broken Harbour and one with The Secret Place and within 6 weeks I had submerged myself in the Dublin Murder Squad’s company.

I DID, briefly, on finding a one square missing, consider a quick re-read of the magical Moomin series – book 2 of it, to be precise, but those of you who would frown on such behaviour can un-purse your lips. I didn’t. Though I may well have a little Moomin re-explore, as Tove-Land is sheer joy, and I have only ever reviewed  Finn Family Moomintroll, the first I read, as a child, on here

A Book with A Blue Cover So, finally an author I have been very late to come to, but am working my way through her stunning books, so, thanks to  Jeanette Winterson, with a blue cover for Gut Symmetries an astonishing weave of love story and particle physics

And that, dear bloggers, was Bingo 2016 in this house