Gruffsdad’s Rather Small Reading Challenge 2017


That is Roddy Doyle and he is one of my favourite authors. Like many people, I first heard of him back in 1991 when the film of The Commitments came out – I read the book which I loved and then read the other two books in the Barrytown Trilogy. I also saw and loved the film adaptations of those two books too not least because The Snapper introduced me to Lick the Tins’ version of Can’t Help Falling in Love.*

Anyway I’ve read a lot of his books but I haven’t read all of them and then this evening I read that he has a new book out later on the year so I thought what better time to set myself the minisucle reading challenge of reading those Roddy Doyle books that I haven’t read for a variety of reason e.g. my copy of The Woman Who Walked Into Doors got destroyed by a leaking sink, I’m not that big a fan of jazz so Oh, Play That Thing! never really appealed to me etc, etc…

So yes once I’ve finished the book I’m on at the moment – the latest Stav Sherez book – you should give him a go as he’s rather bloody good – then I will begin working my way through the unread titles of the Doyle oeuvre and give my views on each of the ones I’ve put off reading until now.

My Kindle has been loaded up with the books and first up will be the aforementioned The Woman Who Walked Into Doors – my review will be up next week – I swear it’s true!!!

In the meantime you should all go and read or watch The Commitments,The Snapper and The Van – you won’t regret it.

In my challenge I will be reading the following titles:

The Woman Who Walked into Doors (1996)
Paula Spencer (2006)

Oh, Play That Thing! (2004)
The Dead Republic (2010)

Rory and Ita (2002)

The Deportees and Other Stories (2007)
Bullfighting (2011)

Two Pints (2012) and Two More Pints (2014)

I hope you’ve all been well – it’s been a long time since I blogged – I’m so rubbish and I’m sorry.

* Never seen Some Kind of Wonderful – sorry.


Quick review: Ray Banks – Matador



“He wakes up screaming, a bullet in his head and his body buried in a shallow grave. He has no memory of life before this moment, just a single clue to the past: a ticket to a bullfight crumpled in his pocket with a phone number on the back.” 

The Ray Banks books that I’ve read in the past have been set mostly in the North West of England – a lot of them featured Cal Innes and I’m a big fan of his. Matador is different though, it was originally released as a series of Kindle chapters before being compiled into a single novel which is how I read it and I devoured it in quick time. 

Banks doesn’t make it easy for the reader, things aren’t as straight forward as you might like and the reasons behind the situation the Matador of the title finds himself in doesn’t become clear until right until the end of the book but this is never a frustration. Rather it acts as a spur to read on and to find out what the hell is going on. 

Banks writes about the ex-pat community in Spain and let’s be honest it’s a particularly unsavoury section of that community and how they cope when things go wrong and when they come under attack. There is corruption, a lot of violence, a lot of violence. Is there any redemption for the characters? Possibly not.

Banks doesn’t resort to the stereotypes of fat British people living abroad in the sun drinking and eating a full English – I mean don’t get me wrong there are characters like that in the book but are they really stereotypes? I liked the view of the foreigners in Spain from the viewpoint of the Spanish characters and the combination of these viewpoints makes for an interesting look at how the two communities interact. 

I’d put off reading Matador as I wasn’t sure about it but I needn’t have worried – Banks hasn’t written a bad book yet and I’m glad I took the plunge and finally read it and if you haven’t read the Cal Innes books yet then do.