Review: Such Small Hands

With thanks to Portobello Books comes a review of Andés Barba’s chilling ‘Such Small Hands’, his third book to be translated into English. Afterword by Edmund White.

Such Small HandsTitle: Such Small Hands
Author: Andres Barba
Publisher: Portobello
Available: 3rd August 2017 (ooooh we got an advance copy, thanks Portobello)
Rating: 3/5*


It’s been a long time since I’ve read anything for review, and even longer since I’ve been so challenged by such a short book. Such Small Hands takes us by the hand and leads us into the strange life of Marina as she assimilates into the orphanage following a car accident in which “Her father died instantly, her mother in the hospital”.

Continue reading “Review: Such Small Hands”

Feature: What’s London Reading 27/01/17

A new featured post here on TheCrackedSpineBlog: What’s London Reading. An insight into what London’s bookworms are munching on!

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Featured Reader: Serena, a masters student at UCL ( and one of Moz’s friends kind enough to pose for this kind of awkward angle).
Currently Reading: Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden.
Favourite Sentence/Passage: “Just because a man has made enough money to come to Gion and waste it however he chooses doesn’t mean he’s fun to be around. In fact, many of the men are accustomed to being treated with a great deal of respect. Sitting back with their hands on their knees and big frowns on their faces is about as much work as they plan to do in the way of being entertaining.”


I’m very excited to have finally gotten around to starting this feature on the blog as it’s been a long time in development and has taken me a while to actually ask anyone to be in a picture for it.

A huge thanks to the lovely Serena for volunteering and being a great model, even or this amateur photographer!

If you would like to take part in this ‘What’s London Reading’ feature and are free for a quick photo and chat please use the contact page of the blog, or you can message our Instagram or Facebook pages.

Diversity Spotlight Thursday

Diversity Spotlight Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Aimal @ Bookshelves and Paperbacks. Every week, you come up with one book in each of three different categories:

– a diverse book you have read and enjoyed
– a diverse book on your TBR
– a diverse book that has not yet been released

A few short weeks ago, well ok, in September, I saw a post recurring on a couple of blogs I follow: Diversity Spotlight Thursday, in which the blogger highlights books that the readers may not have noticed because they come from the more maginalised authors. Hosted by Bookshelves and Paperbacks,  this caught my attention as this year I’ve been trying to reach out of my comfort zone as, like most of Western pop culture, my reading is rather whitewashed. Then, when I saw this post, I decided I had to participate, but alas Life got in the way as usual and I’m just now setting about writing it!

A Diverse Book I’ve Read and Enjoyed

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Image via our Instagram @CrackedSpineBlog

Way back in September, Portobello Books were kind enough to send me an advance reader copy of The Story of a Brief Marriage by Anuk Arudpragasm (published by Protobello/Granta, available from Waterstones), a book about the latter days of the Sri Lankan civil war. This book was a gut-wrenching glimpse into a life so removed from my own that it took me a while to decide just how I felt about it. Just tell us how you felt Moz, well… I felt shocked and sad and angry, but above all I felt privileged.While not just a commentary on the atrocities of civil war, the book is also a sharp narration of the harsh reality of all those fleeing from a war not of their making. Although I say it A LOT, this was one of the books that left me reeling and lost in thought for quite a while. Continue reading “Diversity Spotlight Thursday”

Interview: Jon of Word on the Water

Well, the way I look at it is if it doesn’t sell today, it’ll sell tomorrow. You know what I mean. Like as I was saying many bookshops closed because they wanted the quick sell but that just not how it is now.

You may or may not have seen it, but earlier this week I found the place at Word on the Water, the London bookbarge. Needless to say, the name alone had my wordplay side gripped from the moment I saw it. After I left, I could not stop thinking about how it had come about, and got on the Facebook to ask for a word with them to fulfil my craving.

Thankfully Jon, the owner, agreed to talk with me when I went back to visit later in the week. The afternoon was warm and sunny when I went back to meet Jon, and being the amateur I am I had prepared a pen and paper set of questions. Almost immediately I regretted this decision as Jon had so much to say I tidied them away pretty quickly. Let’s skip the rest of the rigmarole I keep typing and erasing and get down to what we actually spoke about…

So, I suppose my first question would have to be when did you start up the bookbarge, and how did you come up with the idea?

Jon: Well in 2011, we started up here because…well I had a bookstall, I still do, it runs on Saturdays at Archway, word on the Street that is. But anyway, so my mate he lost his job and came to work on the bookstall. And we were living down the canal at the time and one morning he said to me “Wouldn’t it be good if we could just stay at the canal and didn’t have to go to work?”. And so that’s what happened.

Wow, that’s literally the dream, wouldn’t it be good to have work come to you. So, does the barge have to move along the canal, I imagine barges aren’t often stationary?

Continue reading “Interview: Jon of Word on the Water”

Thank Gods It’s Fry-Day 

To put it mildly I didn’t enjoy the book very much. Fry is not among the TV personalities I am fond of. I do find him to be kind of a pompous git, however this book came up for bookclub and I can’t leave a book unfinished.

Oh yes, it’s Friday at long last folks. Well, seeing as I’m currently between work and study that makes no difference to me (aside from the obvious expense of simply existing in this city), but for you my dedicated audience I’m sure Friday is what you live for come 5.

I’ve literally just finished reading Stephen Fry’s The Fry Chronicles on time to make the above pun in the title. That’s no mean feat let me tell you.

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I would much rather have listened to this I think. Image via penguin.com.au

To put it mildly I didn’t enjoy the book very much. Now, I must retroactively preface, or maybe postface is a better (if nonsensical) word, this by saying Fry is not among the TV personalities I am fond of. I do find him to be kind of a pompous git, however this book came up for bookclub and I can’t leave a book unfinished. And Fry did live up to this accolade in the book. Between the achingly long passages about how he did little work and put in less effort in his studies and still succeeded and his bemoaning just how hard it was to be him, the book became a monotonous cry of “Poor little rich [boy] what does [he] know about misery” a la Rose in Cameron’s Titanic.

 

 

Continue reading “Thank Gods It’s Fry-Day “

A Peculiar Home for a Peculiar Person

Well folks I finally made the big move to London town and had to spend some time looking for a place to live. Being the unusual guy I like to pretend I am, I had my heart set on certain areas of London and restricted myself not just by budget but by area too. For anyone who’s ever looked for a place in London on a budget you know how peculiar a request this is.

This week has been quite hectic, so apologies for the lack of a post, or any kind of activity on this blog. Although if you’ve linked with us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram I did try and keep on top of things through those. But Moz, why were you so busy? I hear no one in particular ask.

Well folks I finally made the big move to London town and had to spend some time looking for a place to live. Being the unusual guy I like to pretend I am, I had my heart set on certain areas of London and restricted myself not just by budget but by area too. For anyone who’s ever looked for a place in London on a budget you know how peculiar a request this is.

As luck would have it though, I did find a place to live in the South West of the city for a reasonable price and not living with 17 other Irish people and their mothers. So, in order to break in the new pad, I ducked out this morning to find a new book to read for the weeks as I wait for uni to begin. I found Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar  Children by Ransom Riggs in the charity shop downstairs and thought it a fitting title to begin my time in a new home. Continue reading “A Peculiar Home for a Peculiar Person”