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My Favourite Reads of 2014

Every single year around this time, I find myself reflecting back on the books I’ve read since January 1st, and feeling: 1) mad at myself for not reading more; 2) mad at myself for wasting my life finishing that one really dreadful book; 3) delighted that I kept going through the hard bits of that […]

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As You Wish: Cary Elwes’ New Book on The Princess Bride

Inconceivable! Can it be true? Fans of The Princess Bride (and how could one not be?) will surely be delighted to hear that Cary Elwes, the actor who played Westley/Farm Boy/The Dread Pirate Roberts in the 1987 film adaptation of the book has come out with a book of his own. Out next month, As […]

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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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GOAT – Taschen’s hefty tribute to Muhammad Ali

January 17 is Muhammad Ali’s birthday. All fans of this boxer should make themselves acquainted with Taschen’s  GOAT Greatest of All Time by Jeff Koons, which has pride of place on one of my bookselves. It’s massive, gorgeous and has plenty to read. It was originally published in 2004 and covers the boxer’s entire life […]

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“Wilkie Collins, as they say, could have fornicated for England.”

A new biography of Wilkie Collins is painting an intriguing portrait of The Moonstone author. Wilkie Collins: A Life Of Sensation by Andrew Lycett reveals that “Collins, as they say, could have fornicated for England,” according to the Daily Telegraph’s review. On one of the family trips to Italy, he lost his virginity, aged 13, […]

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Review of Sound Bites: Eating on Tour with Franz Ferdinand

Food and music – a good combination. Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand is a former kitchen porter, chef and kitchen washer upper from Glasgow. In 2004, his rock band Franz Ferdinand enjoyed a series of hits and embarked on a world tour. As Kapronos toured the world, he toured the world’s restaurants and wrote about […]

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This Boy – a memior of west London poverty

The book receiving the most attention in the UK is not Dan Brown’s Inferno but a book about poverty – This Boy: A Memoir of Childhood by Alan Johnson.  The author was Home Secretary from 2009 until 2010, and has been the MP for Hull West since 1999, but this memoir is all about his […]

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Magical bedtime reading – The Silver Sword

Last night I finished reading The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier to my 10-year-old. What a book! Why does it appear to have been forgotten? We took it out from our local library and I was rather surprised that they had a copy. However, I suspect it had not been taken out for a long time […]

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Tracey Thorn’s pop memoir, Bedsit Disco Queen

My next literary purchase will be Bedsit Disco Queen by Tracey Thorn – the singer of Everything But The Girl. The Telegraph carries a review. ‘Once upon a time, and quite out of the blue, when I was least expecting it, I had a huge worldwide hit single,” writes Tracey Thorn in Bedsit Disco Queen, […]

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A video review of Blood, Bones and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton

My latest video review is for Blood, Bones and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton – another food memoir that I’ve added to my growing collection. Don’t read this book if you are already disturbed by the food you receive at weddings and other large events where catering companies supply the grub.

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