review round-up

Here's a few in one go: my reviews of Hollis Hampton-Jones' Comes The NightKapka Kassabova's Villa Pacifica and Julie Myerson's Then are all live at Bookmunch. The first was disappointing, the third was excellent, though difficult, and the second - well, dull doesn't come close. But go on, read the review anyway!

not a lovely name

Well, my mission to have a whole week of DFW was a resounding failure; turns out he's not at all compatible with noisy family life. I got stuck in when we got back, mind, as did the baby. Page 141 absolutely astounded her:


I did read the Alex Keegan book in Dublin, though. And I had bubble baths and went shopping and did that thing where the fish eat your feet and ate a catastrophe of cakes. We drove down to Tipperary and visited my uncle, whom I haven't seen in a very long time, and Seren saw her first donkeys. I met an assortment of babies even newer than my own (hello, Maya; hello Kate!), including one still in utero, so I'll have to go back in February to see him/her on the far side. And my nephew was as ace as ever:


For the first time in about eighteen months, we managed to fly without ash clouds or snowstorms fucking us over, though the Ryanair ground-staff in Dublin did try to make us pay €60 for going over our luggage allowance, which only adds to my suspicion that their scales are maliciously tipped, since there's no WAY the extra baby-clothes and the couple of new toys that we accumulated in Dublin added up to over three kilos. We (meaning Andy) had to empty the case and the carry-on and put on several layers of t-shirts before phoning my sister to loop back round to the airport so we could fill the back of her car with our extraneous stuff and get her to post it over to us later. Ryanair, we hate you so much. DFW probably didn't help the weight thing, though.

Speaking of which.

I'd left The Pale King on top of my mum's kitchen radiator on Tuesday morning while I fed the baby, and my niece came over and looked at it. 'Whose book is this?'
'That's mine,' I said. 'I'm reading it.'
She's five-and-a-half with a year of big school under her belt. The book's enormous. She had a flick through. Six hundred pages. 'Is there nothing good at all in it?'
'There's no pictures. Only reading.'
'Only reading?' She closed it and looked at the cover. 'What book is it?'
'It's good. It's by a man called David Foster Wallace.'
She shook her head and dropped the book back on top of the radiator. 'That's not a lovely name,' she said, before heading out to make mud-and-grass pies in the garden with her cousin.

Not much else to say, really.

on my holidays

In about three hours I'll be on a plane to Dublin, to introduce/show off/offload the baby to various relations and friends - whoop! I'd say 'there'll be a break in blogging', but that would imply there'd been some kind of blogging routine that could be broken, and we all know that's a big fat lie. Anyway, my holiday reading will be DFW's The Pale King, a book I'd been very, very excited about, that arrived in the post the day I was in labour (I actually had my boyfriend bring it into the hospital for me), but that I haven't opened yet because I wanted to be able to concentrate on it, and the last four months have been full of exhaustion and napping and catching up on my reviewing. But now it's time! So let's hope it doesn't send me over my luggage allowance, eh? (I've got some AL Kennedy and Alex Keegan in case I need a DFW-break.) See you in a week, blog-people o'mine.



Sebastian Barry review

My review of Sebastian Barry's On Cannan's Side is live at Boookmunch.