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artkavanagh

artkavanagh

Joined March 2018

I‘ve no iOS/Android device for now so can‘t use Litsy. GR https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/49159880-art-kavanagh ; Pinterest akavanagh1484
review
artkavanagh
The Sisterhood | Emily Barr
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Pickpick

Some of the reviews on Goodreads suggest that the prologue gives too much away. I completely disagree. I could hardly bear to read the tense, climactic encounter between Liz and Mary — I was becalmed 50 pages from the end for three days. If I hadn‘t known what Helen didn‘t know, I‘d never have been able to finish. Also, I don‘t think I‘d have enjoyed the book as much without knowing what the prologue implies about Helen.

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artkavanagh
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I read some unfavourable reviews of this, ones which made me think it was probably not my thing. But it‘s €0.99 on iBooks at the moment, so I downloaded the sample extract just to see … and I think I‘m hooked. (I like the idea of “a terrifyingly minimalist space”.)

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artkavanagh
Hidden Bodies | Caroline Kepnes
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Just wanted to post a link to my GR review from two years ago, mainly as a reminder to myself that I still haven‘t read You and now there‘s a new book that will also need to be read. I‘m falling behind. https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1734646302

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artkavanagh
The Planck Factor | Debbi Mack
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Mehso-so

Given the title and the blurb, I was expecting something wilder and weirder, and some concepts that would challenge my idea of reality, but this turned out to be a disappointingly ordinary thriller. There‘s a rather neat novel-within-a-novel structure with events in the outer story seeming to echo those in the inner one.

artkavanagh The picture is from the author‘s blog and shows her visiting St Stephen‘s Green, Dublin https://debbimackblogs.com 2y
4 likes1 comment
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artkavanagh
Social Creature: A Novel | Tara Isabella Burton
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Most of the reviews of Tara Isabella Burton‘s debut I‘ve seen have been enthusiastic so I was interested to find this dissenting voice in The Irish Times (URL in comment). I don‘t think it‘s putting me off; instead, it‘s making me curious as to who‘s right. It goes on the To Read stack, though it may be some considerable time before I get to it.

5 likes1 comment
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artkavanagh
Temporary Perfections | Gianrico Carofiglio
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Pickpick

The second book I‘ve read from this series, which I seem to be navigating backwards, having started with the latest. I needed to adjust to the unspectacular quality of the plots: they aim not so much for surprise as at confirmating of your worst suspicions—and are not afraid of cliché. This one, in particular, reminded me of Simenon. The characters are fascinating, compelling and credibly flawed. They more than make up for the underpowered plot.

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artkavanagh
Temporary Perfections | Gianrico Carofiglio
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“… all people are either intelligent or stupid, and either lazy or enterprising. There are lazy idiots, usually irrelevant and innocuous; then there are the intelligent and ambitious, who can be given important tasks to perform. The greatest achievements, in all fields, are nearly always the work of those intelligent and lazy. But … the people who are unfailingly responsible for the most appalling disasters … are enterprising idiots.”

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artkavanagh
A Fine Line | Gianrico Carofiglio
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Pickpick

I found this a bit disappointing (particularly given #ScottTurow‘s blurb!) though the first-person narrator and several other characters are really quite appealing. Advocate Guerrieri has no difficulty representing guilty defendants: they‘re entitled to a lawyer, like anyone else. But do those rules apply when his client is corrupting the justice system from the core? I think maybe I should give this a second chance but I‘m not in any rush. ~Pick

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artkavanagh
Behind Her Eyes | Sarah Pinborough
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Pickpick

Even within 80 pages of the end, I was tempted to bail on this one. So glad I stayed with it. The ending is (among other things) grimly funny (kind of a satire on the fashion for extreme twists). Readers who like the kind of book this at first appears to be might not like the end much and vice versa. My view is that the ending made the first two-thirds worthwhile.

artkavanagh The book this reminds me most of is S J Watson‘s #SecondLife, though the *nature* of the twist is quite different. If you hated Second Life, you probably won‘t like this either. My GR review of Second Life: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1734504511 2y
5 likes1 stack add1 comment
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artkavanagh
In the Woods | Tana French
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I saw the paperback going for €3 in a remainder/discount shop yesterday and couldn‘t resist buying it, though I have the iBooks edition on my iPad and already read it in that format. I want to reread it in order to write about it and I like the idea of being able to refer to authoritative printed page numbers.

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artkavanagh
Prosperity Drive | Mary Morrissy
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“The others find her reading choices odd and pretentious because they are so determinedly not mainstream. She eschews the bestseller lists. She favours short stories over novels, because, she tells them, her concentration is fatally flawed.”

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artkavanagh
Felicia's Journey | William Trevor
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Pickpick

This short novel (213 pages) is 24 years old but I‘ve only just read it. William Trevor writes about casual cruelty and violence in a calm, understated, rueful style. I felt sympathy for the dull misery of Felicia‘s marginalized life before, during and at the end of her journey yet somehow detached from it. (Yes, that‘s part of the point.) The ending is great but I‘m not quite persuaded it was worth the journey to get there. A tentative pick.

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artkavanagh
He Said / She Said | Erin Kelly
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Just noticed that this is €0.99 in the iBooks store (at least the Irish branch) at the moment, so I‘ve downloaded the sample chapter and if that impresses me I‘ll buy it. I looked at the paperback in a bookshop the other day and I think it was at least €10, so that‘s quite a saving. I read a good review of it a few months ago.

artkavanagh So, yeah, I bought it while it‘s still 99c but not going to continue reading it just yet. 2y
5 likes1 comment
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artkavanagh
Behind Her Eyes | Sarah Pinborough
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I really had no idea on the basis of Larry H‘s review (on Goodreads and his blog, URL in comment) whether this would be a book I‘d enjoy or not. A few days ago, I saw it in a charity shop for €2 and thought that at that price I really had no excuse not to find out for myself!

7 likes1 comment
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artkavanagh
Prosperity Drive | Mary Morrissy
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“Crossroads to nowhere The avenue leading to St Jude‘s Hospital formed the upright, patches of green on either side with ancient oak trees, low clumps of whitethorn and forsythia, and wild clusters of snowdrops in the spring. Prosperity Drive was the cross-beam, bisecting the avenue. It was a later addition, and afterthought: a paved street of pebble-dashed houses petering out in two bland cul-de-sacs.”

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artkavanagh
The Likeness: A Novel | Tana French
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Pickpick

I‘ve been meaning to reread this novel for some time now and I‘m glad I finally got around to it. It‘s a long (nearly 700 pages), detailed, satisfying, complex detective story about identity, belonging, home and betrayal. Tana French is an amazing novelist.

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artkavanagh
The Likeness: A Novel | Tana French
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“The four big Ls of motive: lust, lucre, loathing and love.”

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artkavanagh
The Likeness: A Novel | Tana French
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“I just believe that vices should be enjoyed; otherwise what‘s the point in having them? If you‘re smoking because of tension, then you‘re not enjoying it.”

wanderinglynn And that‘s why I eat chocolate! Because it‘s yummy & I enjoy it. 😀 2y
artkavanagh Agreed, @wanderinglynn. I haven‘t smoked for a long time and certainly wouldn‘t enjoy it now but I can‘t imagine not enjoying chocolate. The idea‘s absurd. 2y
wanderinglynn Some people consider eating candy/chocolate as a vice. I think those people don‘t know what they‘re missing. 😉 2y
4 likes3 comments
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artkavanagh
Prosperity Drive | Mary Morrissy
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In 1980 and 1981, I lived in a flat in Sandycove, County Dublin. The author of this book lived two floors down during part of that time. I don‘t think I ever spoke to her, or even met her face-to-face, but I certainly had a crush on her. I‘ve never actually read anything by her—I‘m looking forward to this, which I found in a charity shop a few days ago.

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artkavanagh
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Just read a cooly balanced review of this by Laura Miller on Slate. Looking forward to reading the book. I haven‘t added it to the To Read stack yet because it might be some time before I get to it https://slate.com/culture/2018/05/lsd-research-michael-pollans-how-to-change-you...

taraWritesSci This sounds so good though, I'll add it to my to-read. 😊 2y
artkavanagh I hope you enjoy it, @taraWritesSci. The Slate review has an alternative tag line which I didn‘t notice at first. When I did, it made me laugh: “Do drugs. Mostly plants. Not too much.” 2y
taraWritesSci @artkavanagh Oh man, that's hilarious! 2y
9 likes1 stack add3 comments
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artkavanagh
Collected Stories of Mavis Gallant | Mavis Gallant, Mavis Llant
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“Stories are not chapters of novels. They should not be read one after another, as if they were meant to follow along. Read one. Shut the book. Read something else. Come back later. Stories can wait.” From the Preface to her Collected Stories (1950).

3 likes1 comment
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artkavanagh
Whistle in the Dark | Emma Healey
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Emma Healey‘s first novel, 𝐸𝑙𝑖𝑧𝑎𝑏𝑒𝑡𝒉 𝐼𝑠 𝑀𝑖𝑠𝑠𝑖𝑛𝑔, caught my attention when I noticed somebody reading the French translation on a train. Somehow, I never got around to reading it. This review of its successor makes me think it‘s time I did: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/may/13/whistle-in-the-dark-emma-healey-re...

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artkavanagh
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Mehso-so

A bit of a disappointment. That a majority of people can literally visualize things in their heads is still an exciting new discovery for me, but this book contains a lot of undigested raw data which probably won‘t appeal to someone who‘s not as fascinated as I am. I found answers to a couple of questions I had about the condition. A Pick for those with aphantasia, I‘m guessing a Pan for others, so I‘m averaging it out.

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artkavanagh
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“What do you mean ‘picture‘? I don‘t see anything.”

wanderinglynn Neuroscience is fascinating - there‘s always something new scientists are discovering. I was reading about aphantasia a few weeks ago & I can understand why reading fiction wouldn‘t be as pleasurable if one couldn‘t visualize the story in one‘s head. 2y
artkavanagh @wanderinglynn I love reading fiction, and writing it, but I do often find purely descriptive passages hard work, from both points of view. I don‘t imagine what characters or rooms or other places look like but I get a kind of abstract idea of them. It‘s very hard to describe. I‘m only just coming to terms with the fact that I‘ve got it, and trying to work out the implications for my memory, and its “opposite”: my idea of the future. 2y
3 likes1 stack add2 comments
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artkavanagh
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Pickpick

This book is part personal memoir, part literary criticism and part argument about sexuality. Not a combination I remember having encountered before, it works just as well as I‘d have expected—which is to say it works brilliantly. The first chapter opened my eyes to A Midsummer Night‘s Dream which had previously been one of my least favourite Shakespeare plays.

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artkavanagh
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I must read this book. I discovered that I have aphantasia (which has huge implications for the way I read and write fiction) 2 years ago but didn‘t quite manage to believe that it‘s a real thing. I wrote about it here just yesterday: @artkavanagh/straight-a-s-a2b0b3bc8425" rel="nofollow" target="_top">https://medium.com/@artkavanagh/straight-a-s-a2b0b3bc8425

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artkavanagh
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I always meant to read this — I enjoyed the tv series — but it slipped through the net. Nice to be reminded.
https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/in-praise-of-older-books-the-camomile-l...

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artkavanagh
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Some of the ways in which books and reading “have a strange relationship with memory”, according to C. D. Rose https://electricliterature.com/the-best-book-is-the-one-you-cant-remember-33d387...

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artkavanagh
Chemistry | Weike Wang
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“His career path is very straight, like that of an arrow to its target. If I were to draw my path out, it would look like a gas particle flying around in space.”

3 likes1 comment
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artkavanagh
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Author Olivia Kiernan recommends some compelling novels by other Irish women crime writers in Electric Literature. Several of these are going on my to read list straight away
https://electricliterature.com/7-crime-novels-written-by-irish-women-d0468b165a5...

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artkavanagh
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Three of the “new” writers in this landmark anthology of short stories by women writers in Ireland — EM Reapy, June Caldwell and Roisín O‘Donnell — write in the Irish Times about the experience https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/new-voices-in-the-long-gaze-back-june-c...

artkavanagh Sorry, the URL in that blurb isn‘t clickable. I tried adding it again in a comment, but that wasn‘t clickable either, so I deleted the comment. Probably too long. Here‘s a shortened one https://goo.gl/vRQGmH 2y
7 likes1 comment
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artkavanagh
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I‘ve never read this book (which is kind of the point of this blurb). When I first heard the title, nearly 30 years ago, I immediately thought “what a terrible title”. You hear or read it, think “oh, I get it”, and never have to read or buy the book! Clearly I was wrong: it seems to have sold millions. But I still think: “perfect as a motto, useless as a title”.

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artkavanagh

I just posted “The truth about fiction” on Medium. I talk, among other things, about the perception of Kristen Roupenian‘s “Cat Person” (as fiction, personal essay or thinkpiece). I finally got around to reading the short story last week, long after the fuss following its publication in the 𝑁𝑒𝑤 𝑌𝑜𝑟𝑘𝑒𝑟 had died down @artkavanagh/the-truth-about-fiction-ff56897f3d88" rel="nofollow" target="_top">https://medium.com/@artkavanagh/the-truth-about-fiction-ff56897f3d88

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artkavanagh
Good Reads: The Bath Short Story Award 2013 | Debz Hobbs-Wyatt, Andrew Blackman
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When I first heard about Litsy a few weeks ago, it prompted me to think about why I‘d never really got on with Goodreads and that, in turn, led to this piece: @artkavanagh/goodreads-and-the-self-published-author-133b776bd468" rel="nofollow" target="_top">https://medium.com/@artkavanagh/goodreads-and-the-self-published-author-133b776b... (as a result of which I‘m now feeling more at home on GR). #LitsyToGoodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14686512.Anders_Kermod

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artkavanagh
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A few years ago, Plunkett‘s most successful novel, 𝑆𝑡𝑟𝑢𝑚𝑝𝑒𝑡 𝐶𝑖𝑡𝑦, had a bit of a revival. I‘ve still never read it, though I had read two of his later novels. But the book of his that had really made an impression on me was this collection of short stories. I‘d hoped that it might come back into print because of the attention that 𝑆𝑡𝑟𝑢𝑚𝑝𝑒𝑡 𝐶𝑖𝑡𝑦 was drawing but no luck so far.

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artkavanagh
Missing | Karin Alvtegen
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Pickpick

I read this book because I loved the premise: a “high-functioning” homeless woman becomes a suspect in a murder and has to investigate. I felt the execution was disappointing: it seemed to me that the author‘s thumb was sometimes in the scale in her heroine‘s favour. I‘m calling it a Pick, but it has its flaws.

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artkavanagh

Here‘s a substantial excerpt from the book, on Melville House‘s website, in which Valerie Solanas, would-be killer of Warhol and author of the SCUM Manifesto, is remembered https://www.mhpbooks.com/anatomy-of-a-trainwreck-valerie-solanas/

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artkavanagh
The Human Factor | Graham Greene
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"She said, 'Maurice, Maurice, please go on hoping', but in the long unbroken silence that followed she realised that the line to Moscow was dead."

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artkavanagh
Headhunters | Jo Nesbo
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I must get around to rereading 𝐻𝑒𝑎𝑑𝒉𝑢𝑛𝑡𝑒𝑟𝑠 soon. It‘s a darkly funny tale centred on a corporate recruiting consultant and part-time art thief with a disastrously exaggerated sense of self-importance. When I read it originally, I took it as a satire on capitalism. I wonder if I‘d still think that.

4 likes1 stack add
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artkavanagh
Italics Are Mine | Nina Berberova

If you‘re using an iOS device (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch), you might like to know that there‘s an app in the App Store costing about $2 which will let you style text (bold, italic, both, serif font etc) in apps which don‘t normally allow this. Great for book titles, like 𝘐𝘵𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘤𝘴 𝘈𝘳𝘦 𝘔𝘪𝘯𝘦

artkavanagh I forgot to say what the app is called: Textlicious 2y
4 likes1 comment
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artkavanagh
Skin Deep | Liz Nugent
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“I knew that I wasn‘t normal. I have never needed people, just the comforts they could offer me.” Irish Times review (Declan Hughes) here: https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/skin-deep-review-dark-monster-of-a-book...

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artkavanagh
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I‘ve been meaning to get a copy since I read Rooney‘s outstanding short story, “Mr Salary”. Spotted it today at a (relatively, for Ireland) great price and treated myself. (If Litsy hadn‘t been offline I might not have been wandering around a bookshop.). It has instantly leapt to the top of the “to read” list

6 likes1 stack add
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artkavanagh
Sunburn | Laura Lippman
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I added a review from the Washington Post to my Book Reviews “mix” on Mix.com, with a snarky comment about the reviewer‘s use of “thusly”. Another mixer commented that the book is “outstanding”, so I guess I‘m stacking it “to read”.

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artkavanagh
End of Story | Peter Abrahams
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Pickpick

Ivy is a struggling author who takes a gig teaching creative writing in a prison. She believes one of her students to be a brilliant writer; he‘s also a remorseless killer. Ivy isn‘t sure she believes that it‘s possible to be a good writer and a bad man. The last sentence (6 words) chilled me and changed my perspective on the whole story.

Sweettartlaura I just read this book a few weeks ago - loved it! If you want a similar story, try 2y
artkavanagh Thank you, I will, @Sweettartlaura. 2y
2 likes2 comments
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artkavanagh
Skin Deep | Liz Nugent
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Don‘t think I‘m going to get to this, unfortunately.

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artkavanagh
Red Dirt | E.M. Reapy
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I haven‘t booked for this event yet: still not sure I‘m going to be around.

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artkavanagh
The Girlfriend | Michelle Frances
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DNF — at least so far. I put it aside a few months ago, a little more than a tenth of it read, and never resumed reading. It all seems a bit pointless: two women, the mother and girlfriend of a male character, don‘t like each other. Earth shattering. If I ever do get back to it, I‘ll have to start from the beginning because I won‘t remember much.

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artkavanagh
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I‘m very glad to have found a paperback copy. Whit Stillman was discouraging his Twitter followers from buying the ebook versions because they don‘t display footnotes on the same page, which spoils the jokes. I‘ll be reading this soon.

5 likes1 stack add
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artkavanagh
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At least he wasn‘t reading a book — or was he? (Picture originally posted by Logan Summers on Google+.)

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artkavanagh
The Likeness: A Novel | Tana French
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Just recovered these two from my sister‘s house. I‘ve read both of them before (in fact, I‘m sure I‘ve *re*read Medusa before) but I want to reread them before writing about them as part of my discussion on Medium of crime fiction series.