Three weeks of giving up News and it felt like part of me was floating in one of those silent, dark, sensory deprivation tanks. I tried living without radio for the first time in my life and playing music instead. It was lovely having more music but I missed the spoken word. I got through a lot […]Read More ‘The Power’ by Naomi Alderman is darker than the News.
So, it turns out giving up News is harder than giving up chocolate. Harder even, than giving up the internet. It’s not as hard as giving up cafés; that year I failed at Lent and failed early. But giving up news is tricksy because news is everywhere. It’s not just the internet. It’s radio and newspaper […]Read More Giving up News for Lent
The first, ‘Master and Commander’ was a gift, the second ‘Post Captain’ I bought in a secondhand shop, the third ‘HMS Surprise’ I clicked-on in the middle of the night. The next day I went back to the secondhand bookshop and bought the next four books because I was worried someone else might buy them […]Read More Me and Patrick O’Brian
I’ve been lugging piles of books from upstairs to downstairs. When the cat ran under my feet I had to drop the books and grab the bannister and in that moment of slapstick, I noticed that the slew of paperbacks down the stairs were all comic novels. There was one only book within reach as I sank down on the […]Read More Why is this good writing? A little bit of analysis.
‘Lionel Shriver,’ he says, looking at our bookshelves. ‘I’ve read Lionel Shriver. Jeanette Winterson. Diana Athill – she’s really good. Sally Vickers, Barbara Vine. I’ve read loads. I’ve read loads of women’s books – books by women, sorry.’ We have been out at our local tapas bar and I have told him my theory about […]Read More Men Do Read Books By Women, Apparently.
Women read novels written by novelists. Men prefer their novelists to have a Y-chromosome along with the literary talent. Why? The greatest insult a little boy can endure is to be told he’s ‘acting like a girl’. Nobody points out that it’s wrong to use the word ‘girl’ as an insult. A boy child is […]Read More Why Men Don’t Read Novels By Women
Barter Books is a bit of bibliophile heaven. I picked up a good-as-new hardback of Philip Hensher’s ‘The Missing Ink – the lost art of handwriting’, and four lovely old Ladybird books, including ‘Julius Caesar and Roman Britain’ still with the dust-jacket. It’s just like the copy I had as a child. (What happened to […]Read More Barter Books and Ladybirds
“And so to bed.”Read More ‘And so to bed…’
I love this painting by Scottish Colourist, Samuel Peploe. It’s in the Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh where it also features on menus in the café. It’s a picture that’s easy to love but it’s the lemon that really makes it work. Without the lemon, it just wouldn’t do it for me.Read More Pink Roses, Chinese Vase