It’s like the Best Episode of Columbo never made

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One of the surprising thing about ‘Crime and Punishment’ is that Dostoyevsky delivers all the adrenaline-pumping action early on in the novel. As you look at the inches thick wedge of pages you’ve yet… Continue reading

So, which circle of hell do I belong in?

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It’s actually really hard to tell, as I qualify for quite a few. Firstly, hell has a vestibule, and no, while that does sound like a handy place for sinners to leave their… Continue reading

Want to go on an adventure with the last four gnomes in Britain? Hell Yeah!

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When my son was about five years old, he was obsessed with Enid Blyton’s ‘Famous Five’ books. After reading him twenty, one after the other, I was seriously losing the will to live.… Continue reading

Who knew you could fry buttercups?

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Edward Lear, that’s who. I have had this copy of the Pobble Who Has No Toes since I was about four. It is falling apart and some of the illustrations are mildly terrifying,… Continue reading

This lot will make you want to be alone on Valentine’s day.

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Everybody hates Valentine’s day. Everybody. It’s the day when being single is akin to leprosy, and if you’re in a couple, you’re forced into buying into the cynical proliferation of hearts, flowers, chocolates… Continue reading

Polyreading. No, not a parrot with a book.

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I read like I watch TV. Some days one half hour show here, an hour one there, then maybe a film, or I can binge watch the whole of House Of Cards in… Continue reading

…And that’s why if there ever was a shopping competition between Proust and Paddington, the bear would win!

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You’ve got to wonder what Proust would make of today’s world. Just imagine, if, fed up of his perpetual bedroom anxieties and the horror of those violet curtains, he decided to go to… Continue reading

Read a book 100 times? Err…no.

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Centireading. Apparently Anthony Hopkins reads his scripts 100 times, but like the author of this piece reading Hamlet 100 for a dissertation, a play or film script is not a book. A straight… Continue reading

Handing on the gift of Rumer Godden’s lost gem to my daughter.

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When I was seven I was given a battered old copy of Rumer Godden’s ‘Miss Happiness and Miss Flower’ for Christmas by a girl at school. I’m thoroughly ashamed to say that I… Continue reading

Oi, Flaubert! Get in the corner with Hardy.

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*spoilers, tons of ’em* Madame Bovary is one of the most page-chewing, pillow-punching books I have ever read. To start with, she’s just not likable, and an unlikable protagonist is a very hard… Continue reading