Category Archive: 100 Greatest Novels

Ulysses is for life, and not just Bloomsday

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Too many writers to mention have been quoted saying something along the lines of anyone who thinks writing is easy is doing it wrong. And the same goes for anyone who thinks reading… Continue reading

Welcome to the Bates Motel for Meekness & Mindfulness

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I read Jane Austen’s ‘Emma’ in 1985, and at the time, I’d have happily swapped it for a quarter of cola cubes, or even just one. I blame my teacher Mrs Powell, who,… Continue reading

Le Carré serves up British Intelligence in the buff (envelope)

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By happy coincidence, ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy‘ turned up on one of my foraging expeditions to a secondhand bookshop in the same week that Lucy and I embarked upon our trek through the 100… Continue reading

Dammit, Lovelace. You’ve ruined the whole book.

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Ruined it. Trashed it. If I met you I’d punch you in the face. With a brick. A brick tied to an anvil. *spoiler alert* If you are not yet up to the… Continue reading

I’ll tell you why, Ishmael. Because men are liars, that’s why.

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I’m about halfway through ‘Moby Dick’, and Ishmael is wondering why whales are so poorly depicted anatomically in early paintings and sculptures. Party, because people’s memories are awful and no two descriptions are… Continue reading

Moby Dick and a Cannibal’s Christmas

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I’m at chapter 55 out of 135 and Moby Dick has yet to turn up in person (whale?). I find myself conflicted, as I don’t want Moby Dick to get hurt, but I… Continue reading

W.G. Sebald’s ‘Austerlitz’: The ‘Marmite’ of Memoirs or Monumental Masterpiece?

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I remember a friend of mine ranting about a book that was so fiendishly impenetrable and infuriating, she left her book group because everyone else raved about it. As far as she was… Continue reading

#Victorian Middle Class Problems

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The Diary of a Nobody, published in 1888 and on the 100 Greatest Novels list, started out life as a serialised feature in Punch magazine. It was written by George Grossmith, who was… Continue reading

At first he was afraid, he was petrified…

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Oh, Proust*. Darling, sit down. I’ll make tea. No, wait, hot chocolate. And cake. I know I’ve been a bit mean about you before, but what you’ve been through, oh man, believe me,… Continue reading

Books that cost less than cornflakes

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I mean Kellog’s, not supermarket own. But still, the Wordsworth Classics range is damn affordable, especially when there’s a reading challenge on the go, and a 100 specific books to buy. In the… Continue reading