PSR's Book Blog

Literary fiction
J.A. Baker
Toon Tellegenwas a diamond in the dirtfound among the library for sale booksToon Tellegenmakes silk purses out of sows' earsthat is to sayhe takes popular phrases and clichesa...
Raptors - Toon Tellegen, Judith Wilkinson
finished reading:
R.S. Thomas
I bought this edition of R.S. Thomas' 'Selected Poems' when it came out in the mid-1990s - around the time that the Welsh former priest was nominated for the Nobel Prize - and...
R.S. Thomas - R.S. Thomas, Anthony Thwaite
finished reading:
finished reading:
This novella/short novel takes an incident from Bolaño's brilliant 'The Savage Detectives' and weaves a new tale from it. The incident in question concerns the narrator, Auxil...
Amulet - Roberto Bolaño, Chris Andrews
finished reading:
The Kreutzer Sonata
Well, what a strange little book this turned out to be from the master. Is it a good read? Yes, it is. Structured around a series of short chapters and incidents, it's just ri...
The Kreutzer Sonata - Leo Tolstoy
I Refuse: A Novel
This is the fifth novel of Petterson's that I've read, and it maintains the very high standard of his oeuvre, from my perspective. "I Refuse" deals with growing up, friendship...
I Refuse: A Novel - Per Petterson, Don Bartlett
Portrait of a Man
It's Georges Perec - author of my very favourite book of all time - so it has to be good, doesn't it? And indeed it is. I'd read about this novel - Perec's second, but never p...
Portrait of a Man - Georges Perec, David Bellos
House Mother Normal
In which Johnson has lots of fun with constraints and toilet humour... Apparently, the structure isn't new. It had been deployed at least four decades before in 'Tea with Mrs ...
House Mother Normal - B.S. Johnson
In his third novel, the experimental novelist (a term he came to dislike), pursues relentlessly his mission to write truth rather than fiction. Largely a roman à clef, then, i...
Trawl - B.S. Johnson
finished reading:
finished reading:
finished reading:
If on a Winter's Night a Traveller
This was every bit as good as the last time that I read it. For me, this is an 'event book', one of those novels that divides reading into a before and after. Wikipedia quotes...
If on a Winter's Night a Traveller - Italo Calvino
Snow Country
I read Kawabata's 'The Master of Go' and rather enjoyed it. This short novel I admired rather than enjoyed. In theory, I should have loved it as it contained all the right ing...
Snow Country - Yasunari Kawabata, Edward G. Seidensticker
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
I've just read this to my two kids. They loved the story and I had a ball making up voices for the characters (you should hear my Kansas accent...). Given that it's over a cen...
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - L. Frank Baum
finished reading:
finished reading:
Okay, cards on the table time... I'd read the three books for which Milan Kundera is best known - 'The Joke', 'The Book of Laughter and Forgetting' and 'The Unbearable Lightne...
Slowness - Milan Kundera, Linda Asher
Adam, One Afternoon
The Vintage edition that I read was in reality an early Calvino short story collection with the addition of the novella, 'The Argentine Ant'. Aspects of the oblique and playfu...
Adam, One Afternoon - Italo Calvino
Kafka on the Shore
I want to like Murakami. My writing and reading friends keep on telling me how good he is. First they recommend this title, then that. I try them out, making a genuine effort ...
Kafka on the Shore - Philip Gabriel, Haruki Murakami
I've ranted before about the star system here on Goodreads (all the more appropriate à propos 'Cosmicomics' with its cosmological concerns). Compared to much else out there, t...
Cosmicomics - Italo Calvino
Like Borges, Calvino's metier was the short form - short stories and novellas. Even his "novels" - 'If on a Winter's Night a Traveller', 'The Castle of Crossed Destinies' 'Inv...
Marcovaldo - Italo Calvino, William Weaver
Distant Star
It's Roberto Bolaño, but only three-star Bolaño...Let it be known that I love this writer's works, and 'The Savage Detectives', in particular. However... this novella has its ...
Distant Star - Roberto Bolaño
Life: A User's Manual
My favourite book of all time... Everything a novel should or ever could be. Big characters, ripping yarns, wonderful descriptions, word play, structural experimentation and a...
Life: A User's Manual - Georges Perec, David Bellos
By Night In Chile
And so I move from a book for which there were three reviews (Ivan Klima's 'My First Loves') to this with over 700... Strange how acclaim accumulates in reading circles - rock...
By Night In Chile - Roberto Bolaño
Animal Farm
I'm not actually going to write a review, as such. What could I say about this peerless book that hasn't been said before? As a satirical allegory and analysis of human power ...
Animal Farm - George Orwell
House of Leaves
I can't disagree with Mr MJ Nicholls that 'House of Leaves' is nothing more than a glorified ghost story - ah, but what a ghost story... The playing around with page layout an...
House of Leaves - Mark Z. Danielewski
My First Loves (Penguin International Writers)
This is the fourth of Klíma's books that I've read and it maintains the standard of work I encountered in the others. It comprises four tales, the second and third of which ar...
My First Loves (Penguin International Writers) - Ivan Klíma
Six Problems for Don Isidro Parodi
In which the genius of innovative fiction and his great friend amuse themselves through the medium of surreal detective fiction... It wouldn't be everyone's idea of a good rea...
Six Problems for Don Isidro Parodi - Norman Thomas di Giovanni, Adolfo Bioy Casares, Jorge Luis Borges
Blow-Up and Other Stories
The fantastic and the mundane combine in 'Blow-Up and Other Stories', often possessing the scorpion's sting in their tales. The best stories here make for a memorable collecti...
Blow-Up and Other Stories - Paul Blackburn, Julio Cortázar
A Death in the Family
Revelatory memoir is more the stuff of salacious serialisation in the Sunday newspapers than of breakthrough in literary approach. Anyone believing the hyperbole of the endors...
A Death in the Family - Karl Ove Knausgård, Don Bartlett
Sputnik Sweetheart
So this was the fourth recommendation of Murakami that I've read... When will I learn? At this rate, I shall have ended up reading the entire oeuvre of an author for whom I ha...
Sputnik Sweetheart - Haruki Murakami, Philip Gabriel
A Summer Affair
I discovered Klíma by accident. No one I know has ever mentioned his name to me. His books tend not to be in the stores of English retailers. And then I found a couple of his ...
A Summer Affair - Ewald Osers
The Rack
This novel is quite exceptional, a totally involving, emerging experience about life in the shadow of existence-threatening, debilitating disease. Try it, if you're feeling st...
The Rack - A.E. Ellis
Old Masters
In which we get the rambling thoughts of Reger, an 82-year-old music critic, whose irascibility is only matched by his erudition, as he sits in Vienna's Kunsthistorisches Muse...
Old Masters - Thomas Bernhard, Ewald Osers
The Stepford Wives
This isn't the sort of thing that I usually read. I'd seen the film, of course, and scant books often make good films. I picked up a copy in a remaindered bookshop for 50 penc...
The Stepford Wives - Ira Levin
The Tin Men
All you need to know is... this is one of the funniest books ever written.
The Tin Men - Michael Frayn
Ninety-Nine Novels: The Best in English Since 1939
I'm going out on a limb here... This is the most useful guide you'll find to reading material in the English-speaking world in the period from the outbreak of WW2 to the year ...
Ninety-Nine Novels: The Best in English Since 1939 - Anthony Burgess
The Place of the Lion
What can I say about this deeply odd book?I'd read a couple of Charles Williams' novels along time ago. They were out of print and it was fun tracking them down, before the in...
The Place of the Lion - Charles Williams
The City and the City
I had mixed feelings about this book. I read it because I'd heard much praise poured upon the author and because comparisons had been made between it and Jan Morris's 'Hav', a...
The City and the City - China Miéville
Mr Palomar
I'd started reading this book a long time ago but didn't get very far for reasons long since forgotten. Having just re-read the brilliant 'If on a Winter's Night a Traveller',...
Mr Palomar - Italo Calvino

Currently reading

The Peregrine by J.A. Baker