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 [...]

Review: Cruel Crossing – Edward Stourton

Back in late 2011 I heard a BBC Radio 4 programme in which Edward Stourton joined an annual walk, Le Chemin de la Liberté, across the Pyrennees which celebrates the Second World War route used by Allied soldiers, Jews, French resistance fighters, spies and many other groups of people who were trying to escape Nazi [...]

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: Olivia Laing – To the River

To the River is an unusual book, combining local and literary history, a walking journal, meditations on the topic of rivers and water, and a hefty amount of biographical material about Virginia Woolf. The author, Olivia Laing, walked the Ouse Path during a time of great personal sadness, soon after she had broken up with [...]

Review: The Address Book – Tim Radford

Like many school children of my era, when writing my name and address in a book I would extend the address to include cosmic information such as,

. . . Great Britain Europe Earth Outer Space The Universe

In his book, The Address Book, Tim Radford has taken that concept and written a set of [...]

Review: Story of a Secret State – Jan Karski

Note – since publishing this review, I have been sent some interesting personal reminiscences of Jan Karski which I have published in two parts here (Part 1) and here (Part 2).

I have recently been engrossed in a first person account of the Polish resistance movement in World War II Story of a Secret [...]

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

Review: Bomber County – Daniel Swift

In Bomber County Daniel Swift describes how he started to research the life of his grandfather (also Daniel Swift) who was lost at sea when his the Lancaster bomber he was flying was shot down over Holland. His researches, which included visits to military graves and other memorable sites in western Europe, led him [...]

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 [...]