Even though I was firmly rooted in one place as a child, I struggle to explain where I am from. I was born on the very edge of Frindsbury in Kent, but Frindsbury had been swallowed up by Strood and Strood had been swallowed by Rochester, which was itself merely one of the Medway Towns. Continue reading “A Sense of Place”
There are three important questions to be asked before buying an audiobook: is the book itself worth reading; does the reader bring the book to life; and is the book abridged?
I have just finished reading The Factory by Hiroko Oyamada and really enjoyed it. The Factory is a novel about work and, specifically, about the nature of modern work.
Tim Gautreaux is an author who deserves to be better known. The author of three novels, he has also written beautifully crafted short stories about the Deep South, as the subtitle of Waiting for the Evening News describes it, which immediately puts us in mind of Flannery O’Connor and Walker Percy.
I’m delighted that 50 Books for Life: a concise guide to Catholic Literature has been chosen as one of Francis Phillips’ favourite books of 2019 in the Christmas issue of the Catholic Herald.
I have written elsewhere about the Slow Movement and education – see here and here, for example – but today I want to consider the Slow Movement and literature. Reading quality literature, we might argue, is now an act of counter-cultural resistance.
It is easy to assume that we have read a book simply because it is a classic when, in fact, we never quite got round to it. How many people, I wonder, have read the Paddington books, the Mary Poppins series, or even The Wind in the Willows? We may have seen the movie butContinue reading “Kenneth Grahame, ‘The Wind in the Willows’”
“Ours was the marsh country, down by the river, within, as the river wound, twenty miles of the sea.” Like Pip, I too grew up in Kent, down by the river. A few miles north was the graveyard that inspired the famous opening to Great Expectations. Just up the road was Gad’s Hill Place, Dickens’Continue reading “The Wonder of Wemmick”
Eagle’s Honour is one of Rosemary Sutcliff’s less well-known books. It is in fact two stories in one: ‘A Circlet of Oak Leaves’ and ‘Eagle’s Egg’.
While studying in the School of Oriental and African Studies library a few years ago, I stumbled across Xu Guoqi’s China and the Great War and was taken aback by the book’s title.
Eugene Vodolazkin’s Laurus is a remarkable novel, partly because it challenges our notions of what the 21st-century novel should be.
Watch this space for news about my first children’s novel, ‘The Race,’ which will be published by Cranachan in early 2021. In this blog I look at both old and new books, at fiction and non-fiction, at literature written for adults and for children. I write about my books and the ideas that inspired them;Continue reading “Book Reviews and More”
In the introduction to her translation of Bede’s The Reckoning of Time, Faith Wallis has a fascinating aside about education in Anglo-Saxon England:
While it is true that some great books have been written in the 21st century, Joseph Joubert was also absolutely right to argue that…
While Joseph Joubert was absolutely right to argue that the trouble with new books is that they prevent us from reading the old ones, it is also true that some great books have been written in the 21st century. Here are seven which are well worth reading:
History is never as straightforward as we might like it to be. Take something as straightforward as the dates of the First World War: 1914-1918. We all know that. Except that the peace treaties that officially ended the war were signed in 1919. And labourers continued to die while doing battlefield clearance until 1920.
160 of the 168 headstones at the St Etienne-au-Mont mark the graves of members of the Chinese Labour Corps. So what about the other eight?
On just about the only dreary day we had last summer, I visited a small war cemetery in the village of St Etienne-au-Mont, just outside Boulogne-sur-Mer. Of the 168 graves there, 160 mark the last resting places of members of the Chinese Labour Corps.
My article for the Catholic Herald on the Chinese Labour Corps and the Chinese Prime Minister who became a Benedictine monk is now available online.
Researching the Chinese Labour Corps during World War I is bound to force you outside narrow national boundaries.