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Race Rock to In Paradise – a list of Peter Matthiessen’s books

Peter Matthiessen, one of America’s top writers in the past 60 years, died on Saturday at the age of 86. The Guardian carries an obituary. He had been suffering from Leukemia. Born in 1927, Matthiessen is remembered for co-founding The Paris Review literary magazine in the 1950s but he also enjoyed a long writing career […]

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The French medieval saga that inspired Game of Thrones

The BBC writes at length about the cult French novel that inspired George RR Martin to write his Game of Thrones series. Les Rois Maudits (which translated as The Accursed Kings) is a seven-volume series written by Maurice Druon between the 1950s and the 1970s. His novels are set in medieval France and describe the battles […]

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George Orwell’s lasting legacy

George Orwell, real name Eric Blair, occupies a special place in 20th century literature thanks to fiction that forces the reader to think. The author (1903-1950) is best remembered for his six novels but also wrote narrative essays, literary reviews and journalistic articles. Orwell’s writing was so pervasive that phrases he coined are still used, […]

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Forty years of Stephen King books

More than 70 titles to his name. A worldwide following. Adored by Hollywood. Admired by fellow authors. It can only be Stephen King and the master of horror is still going strong after all these years. And it began on April 5, 1974 with the publication of Carrie and Stephen has been literary royalty ever […]

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Book of Margery Kempe, the first autobiography in English

The British Library has digitised the sole surviving original copy of the first autobiography written in English – The Book of Margery Kempe, reports The Guardian. It owns the only known copy of the book, describing  Kempe’s life and travels in England and abroad, including her pilgrimages to the Holy Land and Santiago de Compostela […]

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Chandler to Turow – 30 must-read crime fiction writers

There is an endless fascination with fictional crime, criminals, and the dedicated professionals who bring them to justice. Serial killers and FBI profilers, kidnappers and cops, and grifters and gumshoes are welcome visitors to our bookshelves. Society’s dark underbelly and the twisted mind of the criminal are exciting places to visit. Crime fiction has been […]

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16th century warfare manual shows rockets strapped to cats and doves

Textbooks on the art of war have been around for centuries in one form or another. One of the most interesting examples is Armamentarium Principale Oder Kriegsmunition und Artillerey=Buch by Frank Helm. This 16th century book details the manufacture of bombs, canons and other types of artillery involving gunpowder.  Instructions include strapping rockets to the […]

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Alphabet Library continues – B is for Muriel Spark’s The Bachelors

The second Alphabet Library column from Tim Martin at the Daily Telegraph celebrates The Bachelors by Muriel Spark. For a horrible moment as I wrote The Bachelors, I remembered the Dublin pop group The Bachelors, but thankfully Tim’s essay is all about literature’s brightest Spark, as in Muriel. The Bachelors appeared in 1960, and despite […]

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The Road to En-Dor – a magical story recommended by Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman writes in The Guardian about a rather forgotten book called The Road to En-Dor by former soldier E.H. Jones (1883-1942), which Gaiman is helping to adapt into a film with the assistance of magician Penn Jillette. I’ll let Neil explain as he knows this book inside out… The book had a red cover, […]

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Introducing The Alphabet Library: An A-Z of Forgotten Books

As far as we’re concerned, a good book never dies. It’s just hard to remember them all. Now, some forgotten books are going to be returning to the limelight as the Daily Telegraph has just published the first installment of The Alphabet Library: an A to Z of forgotten books. AbeBooks.co.uk is sponsoring this online […]

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