Read to discover

Category: Books

  • Julius Caesar

    Julius Caesar

    Scholarship is like technology, always evolving. The Arden Shakespeare edition of Julius Caesar I picked up from the library can’t be the Arden edition of Julius Caesar I read in my schooldays. This edition, first published in 1998, is edited by David Daniell, who begins his introduction to the play by asserting, “Julius Caesar is […]

  • As You Like It, Rosalind

    As You Like It, Rosalind

    Rosalind has been my favourite Shakespearean heroine from the first time I read As You Like It. That was shortly after the Beatles had disbanded, when soft rock was ruling the airwaves and there were no such things as PCs and the World Wide Web. The world has changed utterly since then even in its […]

  • Homage to Adrian Henri

    Homage to Adrian Henri

    The poems of Adrian Henri are as catchy and simple as pop songs. He, Roger McGough and Brian Patten were the three Liverpool poets presented in The Mersey Sound, a bestselling poetry anthology of all time. First published in 1967, The Mersey Sound has sold over a half million copies.

  • P.G. Wodehouse and the Beatles

    P.G. Wodehouse and the Beatles

    There’s something in common between PG Wodehouse and the early Beatles. Both are unique and both are fun. Listen to Beatles hits like Please Please Me, Help and A Hard Day’s Night – you are struck by the sheer energy and exuberance, the boys sound like no one else on earth. And the lyrics and […]

  • Kazuo Ishiguro and other Nobel Prize winners writing in English

    Kazuo Ishiguro and other Nobel Prize winners writing in English

    More than a quarter of the Nobel prizes in literature awarded since 1901 have gone to authors writing in English. But English is not the mother tongue of all of them. Kazuo Ishiguro is the fourth Nobel prize winner in literature who writes in English but whose mother tongue isn’t English.

  • Why write?

    Why write?

    What’s the difference between writers and journalists? Journalists write to inform the public about what’s happening in the world. Writers can write about themselves and imaginary worlds. I was reminded of the difference while reading the book, Why Write? The author, Mark Edmundson, does not contrast writers and journalists. But he could be alluding to […]

  • Reading Dylan Thomas on his birthday

    Reading Dylan Thomas on his birthday

    It’s after midnight, the small hours of a new day, the birthday of Dylan Thomas (October 27, 1914 – November 9, 1953). Since he was born on this day, I am reading his poem, In My Craft or Sullen Art.

  • The sensual strut of Dylan Thomas

    The sensual strut of Dylan Thomas

    Ah, the “sensual strut” of Dylan Thomas! I can’t forget those words of his. I couldn’t recall the poem where he wrote those words, so I searched Google and found it. It’s not one of his best known poems, but those two words from it – “sensual strut” – sum up the appeal of Dylan […]

  • John Le Carre: The cat sat on the dog’s mat

    John Le Carre: The cat sat on the dog’s mat

    John Le Carre once said, ” ‘The cat sat on the mat’ is not the beginning of a story, but ‘the cat sat on the dog’s mat’.” He knows how to hook a reader. Yesterday, on his 85th birthday, I opened his very first book, Call for the Dead, published 55 years ago, in 1961.

  • Life Saving: Why We Need Poetry

    Reading a book of poems can be such a pleasure. There’s the thrill of discovering a poem that absolutely bowls you over, the pleasure of re-reading an old favourite and learning something about the life of the poet or poets whose poetry fills the book. I derived all three pleasures from Life Saving: Why We […]