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About A Boy

Warm and funny, About A Boy is one of the most enjoyable books I have read this year. Nick Hornby is one of the most popular British novelists today. And almost page bears shining proof of his gifts of comedy and empathy as he tells the story of two lovable […]

Pinter on Pinter

"I have often been asked how my plays come about. I cannot say. Nor can I ever sum up my plays, except to say that this is what happened. That is what they said. That is what they did. "Most of the plays are engendered by a line, a word […]

Poetry reading web site

Anyone in the mood to hear poetry readings should explore Poetry Archive. It contains recordings of poets reading their own poems. It’s a virtual who’s who of modern English and American poetry, ranging from Allen Ginsberg to Roger McGough. I even heard a scratchy recording of Tennyson reading The Charge […]

The Fortune of War and The Glass Palace

The Fortune of War was a great read — typical Patrick O’Brian. There are setpiece naval battles, intrigue, romance, all that is a typical of an adventure involving Royal Navy Captain Jack Aubrey and his friend — surgeon and British secret agent Stephen Maturin. They are caught up in the […]

Shakespeare’s Dark Lady

Shakespeare’s mysterious Dark Lady of the sonnets could have been a "black beauty" and a working girl, speculates author William Boyd in an article in the Guardian. He writes:"Shakespeare’s working life was in Southwark, south of the river, and London Bridge, a noisome, rank and dangerous district, freer of the […]

John Fowles

The writer John Fowles is dead. He was 79. The flurry of newspaper obituary notices was a startling reminder about a man who had long been out of the public eye, but there was a time when he was one of the most widely read writers. I remember reading him […]

The No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency

I just finished reading Alexander McCall Smith’s The No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency and I can see why it’s proved so popular. It is different from the typical mystery or detective story. Precious Ramotswe is the first woman detective in Botswana. When her father dies, she uses her inheritance to […]

Ed McBain

Ed McBain must have had one of the longest shelf lives as a crime fiction writer. I have been coming across his books ever since I started visiting bookshops and libraries. And no wonder.  Cop Hater, his first 87th Precinct book, came out in 1956, according to Answers.com. By then […]

Sappho’s poem

Oddly enough, this surfaced in Yahoo! Odd News: LONDON (Reuters) – A love poem written 2,600 years ago by Sappho, the greatest female poet of ancient Greece, was published on Friday for the first time since it was rediscovered last year. Sappho’s verses expressing love for her female companions on […]