Time and the Conways, by J.B. Priestley: #BookReview.

Stage Play script. This exploration of family unity, loyalty and dishonesty is structured through three acts to use time as a clever ingredient of viewing, and attempting to predict, the future. It depicts a typical upper middle-class family of the era, showing the inherent snobbery, their patchy understanding of the world they occupy, and how …

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The Nature of Photographs, by Stephen Shore: #BookReview.

136 pagesPhotography Criticism & Essays This is a primer intended for students studying photography at university, but it has something useful to say to anyone interested in what photography truly is and how it can affect our view of the world. It sports numerous photographs to illustrate the textual points made, and explains how photography, …

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The Playboy of the Western World, by J. M. Synge: #BookReview.

First published in 1907, the text of the stage play I read is introduced by a preface from the author. Here, he talks about the language he has used, how and where he encountered it, and why he has employed such colloquial idioms in the work. I can best serve the author’s intent by quoting …

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A Perfect Planet, by Huw Cordey: #BookReview.

324 pagesPhysical Geography/Oceanography This book, a physical reminder of the excellent BBC TV series of the same name, was written by the Series Producer. Subtitled ‘Our One in a Billion World Revealed’, it is an account of the journeys made by the team of camera operators, production staff and other essential crew during the making …

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Wild Horses on the Salt, by Anne Montgomery: #BookReview.

345 pagesWomen’s Action & Adventure/Romance/Contemporary Fiction Having enjoyed Anne Montgomery’s ‘A Light in the Desert’, I thought I’d give this new novel a try. I’ve never been to the USA, and frequently find novels set there both self-congratulatory and full of references that are meaningless to me as a UK reader. But the previous novel …

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The Joy of Serendipitous Distribution.

Some years ago, I encountered a young Chinese woman, Helen, online. I can’t now remember how it came about, but it was probably a result of my series of ‘Right Word’ posts on the blog. Anyway, Helen asked if I could help with her English, as she wanted to learn the language to a better …

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The Photograph as Contemporary Art, by Charlotte Cotton: #BookReview.

248 pages Photography Criticism & Essays/Photography Reference/Digital Art. This is an examination of photography employed as a contemporary art medium as things stood approaching 2009 (there’s an updated version from Aug 2020). There has been an ongoing discussion about the validity of photography as a means of such self-expression. Hopefully, that argument has long been …

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Depolarized, by Nick Airus: #BookReview.

272 pagesPerspectives on Law/Government/Civil Liberties & Political Activism Subtitled ‘Transcending the False Left, Right Narrative’ this book is basically a plea for rational discussion to replace the current fashion for polemic and knee-jerk reactions to so many disagreements. It is also much more than this. The world seems to have descended into extreme factions, if …

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Options: Maye West Mysteries, Book 2, by Brenda Colbath: #BookReview.

231 pagesKidnapping Crime Fiction/Crime Action Fiction/Murder Fiction I came across this author and her books via comments on websites I visit. I tend not to read much crime fiction, but the comments led me to expect a good story from this author. And that was the case. The story is full of action, conflict, some …

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Crimes and Impunity in New Orleans, by Sherrie Miranda: #BookReview.

353 pages: Women’s Crime Fiction/Coming of Age Fiction/Women’s Contemporary Fiction (It should, perhaps, also be included in ‘Political and Historical Fiction) Subtitled ‘Shelly’s Journey Begins’, this book is a prequal to the authors debut thriller ‘Secrets and Lies in El Salvador’, which I’ve also read and reviewed. Both books are well worth anyone’s cash and …

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The Pleasures and Pains of #Editing.

It’s been a long slog, but it’s finally done! My latest novel deals with contentious themes and these proved a source of much discussion between me and my publisher’s editors. Usually, editing of my work has consisted in minor grammatical, structural and vocabulary changes. Nothing substantial, as the characters have always been accepted as well-rounded …

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Boxed In, by Penny Grubb: #BookReview.

384 PagesWomen Writers and Fiction/Thrillers This is the latest in the Annie Raymond series, and, as usual, worth waiting for. As someone who doesn’t read much crime fiction, I’ve always enjoyed this series of crime novels, which is probably explained by the excellent writing and the way Penny Grubb delivers her characters.In this story, Annie’s …

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Mara’s Awakening by Leo Flynn: #BookReview.

Space Opera/Science Fiction A short story full of action, and written in a style to keep that action moving. The title character is described on the cover as ‘half human, half machine, all badass’, and that comes across in the telling.Although I write science fiction, and read it, I’ve tended to stay clear of space …

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A Lullaby in the Desert, by Mojgan Azar: #BookReview.

296 PagesDiscrimination & Racism/Women’s Biographies/Adventure Stories & Action This is effectively an autobiographical novel, an exceptionally candid and affecting one, as the author followed the same dangers, cruelties and life choices as the fictional narrative subject, Susan. It is not an easy read. But it is a book everyone who can read should.It tells the …

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Bridport Prize 2020 Anthology, by Bridport Arts Centre: #BookReview.

147 pages Literary Anthology This is an anthology of the winning entries for the poetry, short fiction, and flash fiction annual contest held in 2020. It includes the ‘commended’ entries, too.The Bridport is a well-respected international literary competition. Along with other contemporary creative activities, what is considered ‘good’ is down to personal taste. We’ve all …

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