Waverley by Sir Walter Scott

I beg pardon, once and for all, of those readers who take up novels merely for amusement, for plaguing them so long with old-fashioned politics, and Whig and Tory, and Hanoverians and Jacobites. The truth is, I cannot promise them that this story shall be intelligible, not to say probable, without it. My plan requires that I should explain the motives on which its action proceeded; and these mo... Read more

by | July 31, 2010

How Obelix Fell Into the Magic Potion When He Was A Little Boy: Asterix tells us a story.

I have a confession, I am an Asterix tragic. Thankfully, the kids have just started to get into them, too.  All kids deserve to have Asterix in their life! I bought my lot (read, bought myself) the first ten, which they really love (as do I). When buying more (for the kids, of course), I discovered this gem. Anyone who has ever read an Asterix book knows that Obelix cannot have any Magic Potion... Read more

by | July 30, 2010

Life by Keith Richards

In that classic of modern  film, Wayne’s World Two,  Wayne and Garth go to London in search of celebrated roadie, Del Preston – they find him hanging up-side down, apparently asleep: Garth: How can you sleep like that? Del Preston: Listen, sonny Jim. Sleeping like this will add ten years to your life. I learned it from Keith Richards when I toured with The Stones. This may be the re... Read more

by | July 30, 2010

Longlist announced for Man Booker Prize 2010

From The Man Booker Prize website: The judges for the 2010 Man Booker Prize for Fiction have announced the longlist for the prize, the leading literary award in the English speaking world. A total of 138 books were considered for the ‘Man Booker Dozen’ longlist of 13 books. The longlist includes: Peter Carey Parrot and Olivier in America (Faber and Faber) Emma Donoghue Room (Pan MacMillan... Read more

by | July 28, 2010

You always said you’d read Hemingway – here’s your chance.

Ernest Hemingway is more than a writer… He is a name, an entity, an icon in the same manner as those other American giants Marilyn Monroe, JFK, George Washington and Henry Ford. All of whom are instantly recognisable, as names… but what do we really know of them? In the particular case of Ernest Hemingway I feel confident in saying that most people know very little about the real Er... Read more

by | July 28, 2010

Jane Austen’s Fight Club – All Austen needed was a bit more biffo!

Jane Austen has suffered unnumbered assaults, this last, however leaves her well equipped to repulse any further attempts to sully her good name. What does Chuck Palahniuk’s modern boy’s own story – Fight Club have in common with the novels of Jane Austen? Well, nothing… until now. A group of girls in the US decided to bring the two together. Jane Austen finally gets her... Read more

by | July 27, 2010

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. A review by novelist Kylie Ladd.

You don’t need me to tell you that Wolf Hall, by British novelist Hilary Mantel, is good. It won the 2009 Man Booker prize, and was also shortlisted for the 2009 Costa Novel award and 2010 Orange Prize for fiction. That sort of success speaks for itself. Clearly, the novel is good. What I can tell you, though, is that the book is absolutely gripping, mesmerising and magnificent. I chose Wolf Ha... Read more

by | July 26, 2010

A MasterChef Cookbook in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bookshop

The MasterChef Finale: it all came down to this… A Guava and Custard Apple Snow Egg …the signature dish of Quay restaurant’s executive chef, Peter Gilmore. I thought it looked like the result of a wayward shot on the back nine, (golf joke) but my family thought it looked intricate, delicate and delicious – I quickly found that my comments weren’t appreciated. I was... Read more

by | July 26, 2010

The Fry Chronicles : An Autobiography by Stephen Fry

Thirteen years ago, Moab is my Washpot, Stephen Fry’s autobiography of his early years, was published to rave reviews and was a huge bestseller. In those thirteen years since, Stephen Fry has moved into a completely new stratosphere, both as a public figure, and a private man. Now he is not just a multi-award-winning comedian and actor, but also an author, director and presenter. In Janua... Read more

by | July 26, 2010

Quick Plug for a Forgotten Gem (Look Back in Anger by John Osborne)

Look Back in Anger By: John Osborne This is a play which is perfect for that ‘angry young man’ in your life – you know the fellow – he’s bit of an intellectual whose natural habitat is the café (he’d smoke but his mother won’t let him, so he has double espressos instead), he is fond of intense women who always carry a volume of Virginia Woolf’s di... Read more

by | July 23, 2010