Review: Gold Digger – Frances Fyfield

I’ve always been fascinated by the more remote coastal resorts of England such as those found in East Anglia and the more remote parts of Kent. Cromer, Southwold, Broadstairs, Whitstable – these places are loaded with atmosphere with their tarred fishing huts, little cafés where a few customers huddle over mugs of tea and their [...]

Review: The Age of Doubt – Andrea Camillieri

I’m new to Andrea Camilleri’s Inspector Montalbano series of books. The Age of Doubt is number 14 so I have a lot of catching up to do. A bit of research on Andrea Camilleri showed me that he (yes, Andrea is a man not a woman) is now 87 years old and wrote his [...]

Review: Sea of Ink – Richard Weihe

I haven’t reviewed anything from the excellent Peirene Press for some time and when Sea of Ink arrived through the post I was pleased to find another beautifully produced novella, this time about the life of Bada Shanren, the leading exponent of what we now call “Chinese brush painting”, from the Ming Dynasty.

Bada Shanren [...]

The Story of the Other Wiseman – Henry Van Dyke

I published a post about this short story three years ago in 2009 and I notice from my site statistics that every December the article seems to attract a large number of hits. There were some shortcomings in the original article and so I’m republishing it here and include links to an audiobook version (see [...]

Review: Mission to Paris – Alan Furst

You know quality when you see it and with Alan Furst’s books set in Europe in and around World War 2 you know that quality is guaranteed. His new book, Mission to Paris is no exception. Frederick Stahl, an Austrian-born film actor based in the USA is sent to Paris in 1938 by Warner [...]

Review: I Sleep in Hitler’s Room – Tuvia Tenenbom

I’ve read some strange books in my time, but this one certainly pushes the boundaries. At first glance it seems to be a typical travel book in Bryson-esque style. But with its title, I Sleep in Hitler’s Room – An American Jew Visits Germany, you know from the start that this is not going [...]

Christmas Gifts for Readers

Over the last month I’ve been looking out for books which would make good Christmas gifts for readers. I’m covering one more item today and also listing the other four below this article. Today’s choice is a subscription to Slightly Foxed, a quarterly journal which calls itself “The Read Reader’s Quarterly”.

I have periods of [...]

Christmas Appeal – Book Aid International

I am a keen supporter of Book Aid International which increases access to books and supports literacy, education and development in sub-Saharan Africa. An example of their work is the supply of book boxes to schools in Tanzania and they have produced this heart-warming video of how their work directly affects children and teachers.

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Review: The Cleaner of Chartres – Salley Vickers

A new book by Salley Vickers is always a welcome event, particularly when it is as attractively produced as this one with its cover the same colour as the limestone from which the great cathedral of Chartres is constructed. In the Cleaner of Chartres, we are less concerned with the grandeur and majesty of this [...]

Review: The Horologicon – Mark Forsyth

Christmas Gifts for Readers No. 4

I’m writing a set of five articles covering items which would in my view make great presents for people who love books and reading. I have no financial or commercial interest in any of these products and I’m only writing about them because [...]