I grew up in 1980s rural Scotland so reading was a way to escape the horrors of tartan, tinned vegetables and horizontal rain. Eschewing deep-fried mars bars I instead devoured everything written by dear Enid Blyton, Alfred Hitchcock’s Three Investigators mysteries and Willard Price’s Adventure series. Slightly trashy and entirely predictable literature has been the making of me.
- My Good, Bad and Meh list for 2018
- Short reads. Small but perfectly formed books
- Jump on the bandwagon with Psychological Thrillsopens a new window Just about every second book being published at the moment is promoted as the "next Gone Girl", or "perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train". Until psychological thriller fatigue sets in scare yourself silly with some of these head-wreckers.
- Best (and worst) bookies of 2016
- 2015 Crackers! "Best of the Year"
- Joyce's choice reads 2014
- Joyce's Booktastic Reading List for 2013
- Joyce's "Thundering Good Reads" of 2012
- New Nordic Colour by Antonia af Petersens features moody and sophisticated colour palates, while New Nordic Gardens by Annika Zetterman showcases a variety of dramatic and rather lovely Scandi gardens. I'm still obsessed all things Scandinavian. Hygge may be old hat and Danish jumpers beyond the pale but I am still very partial to a bit of pared down northern, northern hemisphere style. Some new Norwegian inspired design titles are introducing a welcome splash of colour to both the interior and exterior.
- I'm currently immersed in Costa Prize winner Stuart Turton's The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. My feeble words are inadequate to describe the scale, complexity and sheer bravado of this slightly bonkers mystery. Set in a crumbling 1920s stately home, the novel has been described as "Gosford Park meets Inception" but unlike some other time shifting narratives, particularly TV series, I'm feeling very confident that A) Stuart Turton has forensically plotted this and knows exactly where this crazy creation is heading, and B) I won't be disappointed. I'll keep you posted!
- Persephone Books are gorgeous. You might have seen them around, soft grey book jackets with distinctive vintage fabric endpapers. They re-publish and promote forgotten female 20th century authors and by golly some of them are great. I read and adored The Victorian Chaise-Longue by Marghanita Laski and am giving Dorothy Whipple (epic name!) a go next. For more Dead Dames of a literary ilk try our library blog.
- Australian Crime. I'm always slightly amazed at the unfamiliarity (feigned or real?) we seem to have in New Zealand with Aussie publishing. I'm a huge fan of Oz crime fiction and have recently read some beauts.The Dry by Jane Harper and Resurrection Bay by Emma Viskic were both tense, well-plotted and full of rounded, realistic characters. The late Peter Temple's The Broken Shore is straight-up one of the greatest crime titles ever and his Jack Irish series set in Melbourne is well worth a read too.
- Jeeves and Wooster! I have recently re-encountered the delights of the omnipotent Jeeves and the totally gormless Bertie Wooster. Overdrive has a selection of full-cast BBC Radio 4 plays recorded in the 1970s and 1980s with a host of British lovies. Lots of fun.