Review: Monsieur Proust’s Library – Anka Muhlstein

Monsieur Proust’s Library by Anka Muhlstein takes us on a literary pathway through Marcel Proust’s great work, À la Recherche de Temps Perdu (In Search of Lost Time). This slim volume (141 pages) is a printed in blue ink on high quality paper, with attractive illustrations at the beginning of each chapter.

I can’t say […]

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: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die – Peter Boxall

Christmas Gifts for Readers no. 1. (a short series)

Over the next month or so I’m going to write a few articles on books which if I’d not already got them I would be delighted to receive on Christmas Day.

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die is a controversial volume among book-lovers. […]

Review: Such Stuff as Dreams – Keith Oatley

Keith Oatley is a novelist and professor of cognitive psychology at the Univeristy of Toronto. He has some remakable things to say about the act of reading. His book, Such Stuff as Dreams suggests that when we read, our brains interpret social interactions in a work of fiction as the real thing – as far […]

Review: Is that a Fish in Your Ear? – David Bellos

I have read many books which have been translated from other languages and have often wondered about the translation process. Its almost impossible for the average reader to judge the accuracy of the translation or whether it corresponds to the original style of the author.

Even the current Education Secretary (our Government Minister for Education) […]

Review: The Possessed – Elif Batuman

Elif Batuman’s book of essays, The Possessed, loosely based on the joys of reading classic Russian literature, turns out to be a bit of a hodge-podge of travel-writing, literary criticism and a personal reading history, enlivened by a butterfly mind that flutters from one subject to another without really landing for too long on any […]

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: Love, Sex, Death and Words – John Sutherland and Stephen Fender

This is a review of a book I was sent by Icon Books, but at my request – I would have purchased it anyway, especially after having read it, so thanks to Icon.

I have been looking forward to reading Love, Sex, Death and Words for some time, having enjoyed John Sutherland’s earlier books like […]

Review: A Novel Bookstore – Laurence Cosse

As an avid reader I enjoy “books about books” and this one certainly falls into that category. Imagine a couple of lovers of literature who get the opportunity to open a book-shop which only sells “good” books, those which meet a criteria of literary worth, deliberately ignoring the current literary prizes and the year’s […]

Review: Life as a Literary Device – Vitali Vitaliev

British readers may remember Vitali Vitaliev from his time as Moscow correspondent on David Frost’s 1990s television programme, Saturday Night Clive, and many broadcasts on BBC Radio 4. Vitali was born in the Ukraine, eventually defecting to the West, living in Britain and Australia, and eventually returning to London where he is a successful journalist […]