Monk’s House – Sussex home of Virginia Woolf

We went to Monk’s House yesterday, the Sussex home of Virginia Woolf. I’m not a great fan of Woolf’s writings but the house is not far from us, and it was such a beautiful May morning we decided to go across and look at the cottage set in its gorgeous gardens.

In one of her […]

Review: C S Lewis: A Life – Alister McGrath

When I first saw this book, C. S. Lewis: a Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet I wondered why anyone would want to write another biography of C S Lewis. After all, George Sayer, A N Wilson, Roger Lancelyn Green, Walter Hooper have all published biographies of Lewis. Most Lewis fans will also be familiar with […]

Revew: Balzac’s Omelette – Anka Muhlstein

This book ticks a number of boxes for me:

– It describes the literary world of Paris in the 19th century; – It homes in on Honore de Balzac, a writer I have been reading for the last two or three years; – It describes the history of French cooking and eating-out; – It’s very […]

Review: The Summer My Father Died – Yudit Kiss

The story of the 20th century can be told in big, sweeping brush-strokes charting the rise and fall of dictators and political movements, the vast spread of world wars and the chaotic effects of natural disasters. But so often the stories of individuals have so much more to say to us about the day-to-day impact […]

Review: Wolfram: The Boy Who Went To War – Giles Milton

A new book from Giles Milton is always welcome – he is a fine writer of what might be called “narrative non-fiction” – often telling the story of forgotten episodes in history, such as in Nathaniels Nutmeg, about the battle between the Dutch and the English for control of the nutmeg trade, or Paradise Lost, […]

Review: Brief Lives: Virginia Woolf – Elizabeth Wright

Despite stealing the byline for this website from her (“he reads for his own pleasure rather than to impart knowledge or correct the opinions of others”), I am not generally a great fan of Virginia Woolf’s writings. But living where I do in East Sussex, we are surrounded by Woolf places, including only a few […]

Review: A Man of Parts – David Lodge

I’ve known H G Wells’ books for many years now. When I was a child, my father had a set of his books in cheap bindings, presumably published by a book club, and I remember reading some of them throughout my childhood and youth, particularly the more “science fiction” titles like The Invisible Man or […]

Review: Mrs Woolf and the Servants – Alison Light

My wife and I live in Bloomsbury-group country. Just last weekend we walked from Southease to Rodmell and walked past Monk’s House where Virginia Woolf ended her days (she threw herself into the River Ouse just down at end of the lane).

Berwick Church is near us, where Vanessa Bell (Virginia’s sister) and Duncan Grant […]

Review: The Hare with Amber Eyes – Edmund de Waal

Edmund de Waal is a renowned ceramic artist who’s work has been exhibited in Tate Britain and the Victoria and Albert Museum. He can trace his ancestry back to a wealthy Ukrainian family who made their fortune from grain exporting and later banking, and who had spacious and luxurious homes in Vienna, Tokyo and Paris. […]

Review: The Perfect Nazi – Martin Davidson

I didn’t much like this book but don’t believe in letting my less complimentary reviews live forever on the Internet so have deleted it. 11 June 2013