The quality of mercy is not strain’d, It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest; It blesseth him that gives and him that takes: The Merchant of Venice, Act 4 Scene 1 At the time of writing I’m not long back from Stratford-upon-Avon and a … More The Quality of Mercy by Barry Unsworth
During World War II US troops were stationed in Liverpool at a barracks not far from where my granddad, Martin Nesbitt, lived. The story goes that one day Martin, too old to be conscripted, boarded a tram full of US soldiers. In one part of the car were white GIs and in another, keeping apart, … More The Sellout by Paul Beatty
Anyone remember Frankie Goes to Hollywood? Their first single, Relax, banned by the BBC, went on to make number one in the UK singles charts – nothing like a bit of controversy to stir up public interest! Their second single also topped the charts, as did their third. But it’s the fourth single, Welcome to … More Coleridge: Early Visions by Richard Holmes
Once bitten, twice shy? If you’ve read my earlier review of O’Farrell’s Instructions on a Heat Wave you’ll know it wasn’t for me. Still I’m all for second chances, and having been told by a member of my book group that The Hand That First Held Mine was better – it won the 2010 Costa … More The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O’Farrell
“A happy man has no past, while an unhappy man has nothing else.” Dorrigo Evans, age 77, is a surgeon, a war hero; a celebrity of sorts, made famous by a television documentary about his time as a POW in a Japanese camp on the Burma Death Railway, using his medical skills to save what … More The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan
More than a decade ago my sister bought me The Modern Library: The 200 Best Books Written in English Since 1950 (Carmen Callil and Colm Toibin, Picador, 1999). There are lots of books of the same ilk and any ‘best’ list is bound to be subjective. So it mostly sits untouched on the bookshelf next … More The Secret History by Donna Tartt
“A man is a god in ruins” Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature Kate Atkinson won the Costa Novel Award 2013 for Life After Life about the lives (yes, lives) of Ursula Todd. In 2015 she won it again with A God in Ruins, about the life of Teddy Todd, Ursula’s younger brother. Having read and enjoyed … More A God In Ruins by Kate Atkinson
I spend an hour a day on the train commuting to work and home again, and most of that hour is spent reading. Over the course of a working year that amounts to over 200 hours reading. That equates to a lot of books. I’ve set up this blog so I can share my thoughts on the … More Hello world!