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”.

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WLR: Mystery Edition 

It’s that bleak humour that makes me love Christie, a blasé flaunting of the ridiculous that somehow seems plausible as we read it.

Featured Reader: A devilishly handsome man hiding behind a book. AKA Moz but I prefer the mystery man title.

Currently Reading: Destination Unknown by Agatha Christie.

Favourite Part/Line: While trying to recruit a spy, a character pitches the mission in the least appealing way possible, and yet it works: “I’m suggesting another method. Rather a sporting method really. There’s some excitement in it too. I’ll be fair with you. There’s just a hundred to one chance you mightn’t die. But I don’t believe under the circumstances, that you’d really object by that time.” It’s that bleak humour that makes me love Christie, a blasé flaunting of the ridiculous that somehow seems plausible as we read it.

As with last time, if you would like to take part in this ‘What’s London Reading’ feature here on TheCrackedSpineBlog 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.

What’s London Reading 07/02/17?

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Featured Reader: Tash, a fellow blogger, from The Bottom Step  who very kindly agreed to be this week’s feature as she is aiming to complete 52 books in the 52 short weeks of 2017! We met in the in the beautiful Bloomsbury Coffee House where we grabbed a cup of surprisingly affordable and delicious coffee (well an Earl Grey Tea Latte for me).
Currently Reading: Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty.
Favourite Thing About the Book So Far: I really like reading it because it’s set in London so I can easily walk around the streets and follow where the main character is at the part I’m reading. Or I can just look up and see I’m on a street and be like ‘Oh this is where that thing happened!’ And I love the way the story builds, giving lots of tantalising clues to the main plot and as the story evolves you have to connect the dots.

Continue reading “What’s London Reading 07/02/17?”

Review: A Man Called Ove

Please just let Ove succeed in the next chapter, I prayed every night as I cracked the spine of my Kindle.

a-man-called-ove-9781476738024_hrTitle: A Man Called Ove
Author: Fredrik Backman
Available: Now (Amazon, BookDepository)
Moz Rating: 3/5

Ove wants to kill himself. That’s pretty apparent from the first page, what was less apparent was how much I would also want Ove to kill himself by halfway through.

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The 2017 Reading Challenge And Why I’m Not Partaking

Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you that one of the phrases I say most often is “I’m a busy person. I don’t have time for that.” So for 2017, my challenge isn’t to read a mountain of books I barely notice and maybe yours shouldn’t be either.

Happy New Year CrackedSpiners!

January is finally here, and it’s a new year new you! This year you’re going to get back to the gym, eat healthy, and finally complete a Goodreads Reading Challenge of 50 books. It’s going to be you best year yet… But it’s not really is it? Chances are we’ll stick to the gym for a few weeks, eat a cereal bar and pretend it wasn’t a Coco Pops cereal bar, and then spend the rest of the year staring at the Goodreads Challenge as it let’s you know how you’re not meeting your target.

Now, I’ve done the Goodreads Challenge in the past, don’t get me wrong. I love the feeling of clocking up those public announcements of who’s on track and working hard to meet their goal. That’s the problem though, I’m working hard to meet the goal. I’m not reading for pleasure but to beat the others. It became a drudgery of books to read and how to offset those sluggish months where even finishing one and cracking a new spine seemed a huge task.

Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you that one of the phrases I say most often is “I’m a busy person. I don’t have time for that.” So for 2017, my challenge isn’t to read a mountain of books I barely notice while I devour them. Instead I’m opting for “By the end of 2017 I will have read and enjoyed at least one part of the books I find time for” maybe such a goal will be more helpful to anyone struggling to get back into reading than a mammoth target!

New year, same blogger,


P.S to the lucky searcher who found this blog with the “small t!ts” Google Search, we apologise for the confusion.

Header Image via Goodreads.

The Sellout

Beatty isn’t writing to give us a belly laugh, but instead to call out our prejudices however ‘well-intended’ they may be.

Title: The Sellout
Author: Paul Beatty
Pages: 306
Rating: 4/5

In the Man Booker Winner of this year, Beatty tackled one of the largest issues in the US of A over the last five (hundred) years and undoubtedly many, many years to come, race relations.

Page after page of this biting satire is jam packed with that word white people just can’t say yet still find oddly titillating (probably because we know that word is no longer for us), and shrewd jarring comments on today’s society both black and white. That is not to say though, that it’s inaccessible or heavy. It’s hilarious, in the sick way that the rest of 2016 has been.

Beginning in a courtroom, like all stories of landmark race relations novels, the story focuses on Mr. Me (an African-American urban farmer who grows not just the juiciest watermelons but some of the sweetest ghetto philosophy) as he battles the law with sidebars from his history and evidence floating through the protagonist’s mind. One of my favourite axioms came in this early supreme court scene when Me served us a slice of his sweet sweet philosophy on Abe Lincoln: ” Would he read the paper and see that the Union he saved was now a dysfunctional plutocracy, that the people he freed were now slaves to rhythm, rap, and predatory lending, and that today his skill set would be better suited to the basketball court than the White House?”. Running with this notion, Beatty uses Me to explore the racism of modern day USA which comes down to the African Americans from all sides, including their own.

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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”