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Mostly Bookbrains

Dear Booklovers, On Tuesday November 3rd, on behalf of Mostly Books I’m hosting a Literary Quiz entitled ‘Mostly Bookbrains‘ at the Manor Preparatory School in Abingdon. Guess who’s Quizmaster and writing the questions? Yes, it’s me. We will cover the whole world of books – from bestsellers to prizewinners, cover art to author photos, children’s Read More

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Short Takes

Catching up on some shorter reviews … Amulet by Roberto Bolano To paraphrase the Cranberries album title, Everybody else is reading it, so why can’t I? – I’ve finally read some Roberto Bolano. He is definitely the flavour of the moment; his posthumously published epic 2666 is generating acres of discussion and review. However I Read More

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A nail’s tale.

This is not a post about books – It’s a musing about fingernails! I tend to keep my nails really short – it’s a habit – I used to be a fiddle player. My nails have never been strong either, flaking at the slightest exposure to harsh treatment; but apart from painting on nail strengthener Read More

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A true story of the Russian Revolution

Blood Red Snow White by Marcus Sedgwick There has been renewed interest in the beloved children’s author Arthur Ransome lately due to the publication of a new biography: The Last Englishman by Roland Chambers. What many people don’t know is that years before he wrote the children’s classics, including Swallows and Amazons, for which he Read More

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Richard III – Dastardly murderer or totally misunderstood?

The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey  Most people if asked, including me, would think of Richard III as the hunchback who murdered the princes in the tower. Our information generally comes from Sir Thomas More’s hatchet-job of him by way of Shakespeare and Laurence Olivier or Anthony Sher with a crutch capering around the stage. Read More

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Monkey Business in Hollywood

Me Cheeta by James Lever This year’s oddball choice on the Booker longlist is a satire on Hollywood as seen through the eyes of Tarzan’s long-lived chimp companion. When it was published last autumn as an autobiography, the book had Cheeta listed as its writer, but it didn’t take long for the real author to Read More

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The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood – were they really desperate?

In the same way that I adored watching Rome and am enjoying The Tudors, I also loved Desperate Romantics which recently finished screening on the BBC. All of them are generally utter tosh historically, but great entertainment to watch – and of course everyone looks marvellous; (Rome also wins prizes for being the most creatively potty-mouthed programme Read More