Britten centenary – my memories of Noyes Fludde …

This weekend marks the centenary of the birth of composer Benjamin Britten. Radio 3 is celebrating with ‘Britten 100’, a weekend of programmes. I thought I’d celebrate too with some personal memories from my younger years of listening to and performing some of his works… In 1966, the Canadian conductor Arthur Davison, who had made his Read More

50th Anniversary of the Assassination of JFK

The Assassination of JFK: Minute by Minute by Jonathan Mayo I was just three and a half when JFK was assassinated, so I remained blissfully unaware of the tragedy that had happened on 22nd November 1963.  They say it’s one of those events that everyone remembers where they were when they heard the news. I’ve Read More

Woman, interrupted …

The Pumpkin Eater by Penelope Mortimer This painful novel, her seventh published in 1962, is widely regarded as Penelope Mortimer’s most famous. It was filmed with Anne Bancroft, Peter Finch and James Mason in the leading roles and, it is the Oscar-nominated Bancroft who graces the cover of the Penguin that I inherited from my Read More

Rediscovering Alderley Edge’s Old Magic

This post was republished into it’s original place in my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive. The Weirdstone of Brisingamen & The Moon of Gomrath by Alan Garner After going to see a lecture given by Alan Garner, reported here, I naturally wanted to read more by him, and especially to (re)read the Weirdstone Trilogy. In Read More

The Women of Madison Avenue

Mad Women by Jane Maas Mad Men still ranks amongst my favourite TV programmes ever. I love everything about it – the clothes, the campaigns, the decor, the lifestyle, the cast, (especially John Slattery as Roger Sterling). But how true is the series? I’ve already read one book by a guy who was there – Jerry Read More

A little London loving – 1960s style…

Georgy Girl by Margaret Forster Margaret Forster is somehow one of those familiar authors, although I’ve read any of her books.  Over the last fifteen years or so, I’ve seen several of her books in shops; The Memory Box is a title that stuck in my mind.  Although I’ve no idea how old she is, Read More

One for the new year …

The Misinterpretation of Tara Jupp by Eva Rice Take one big happy family; add some horses, a big country manor in Cornwall, plus doses of first love which doesn’t go easily. Shake it up and relocate to London; mix with rock’n’roll and serve with love again. This is the essential recipe for Eva Rice’s new Read More

“Summer fling, don’t mean a thing, But, oh, oh, the summer nights”

This post was republished into my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive. August is a Wicked Month by Edna O’Brien When I came across this short novel published in 1965, in a bag of books from my late Mum’s, I had to read it straight away for two reasons.  The obvious one is the Read More

A Beryl Bibliography – part one

Thank you for the wonderful response to my decision to host a Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week in June. Some of you aren’t so familiar with her books, so I thought I’d post a bibliography and give an idea of the subject for each of them, in time for you to find copies of those that Read More

Another different Italian Inspector!

Death and the Olive Grove by Marco Vichi, translated by Stephen Sartarelli This is the second of Vichi’s novels featuring Inspector Bordelli of the Florentine police.  I’ve yet to read the first, but I don’t think it really mattered. It was first published in Italian in 2003, the English translation was published this year. When Read More

Bottling Things Up, or Bottling Out?

The Bottle Factory Outing by Beryl Bainbridge A couple of weeks ago, Simon at Savidge Reads chose three books he was going to read before his imminent thirtieth birthday, (and he asked for more recommendations for forty books to read before he is forty.) One of the three was based on a suggestion of mine Read More

Book Group Report: Half of a Yellow Sun

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Our book group read this month was one of those archetypal earnest stories featuring real events that can generate great discussions. This novel takes place in 1960s Nigeria before and during the Nigerian-Biafran war which started in 1967.  It follows the lives of two sisters, their Read More

A groundbreaking novel…

This post was edited and republished into my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive.   Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann Jacqueline Susann’s 1966 novel was hugely influential; it paved the way for Jackie Collins and all the other bonkbusters that followed. I’d been wanting to reach this book for ages, but knew nothing Read More

Playing by the rules …

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles Scene: New York City, 1966 – an elderly couple, Katey and Val, are at a gallery viewing of photographs, all taken of passengers on the subway over many years. The same man occurs in two photos, but in obviously different circumstances years apart. Katey recognises him – it’s Tinker Grey… Read More

Cold War espionage feels so real in this book

The Spy Who Came in from the Coldby John Le Carré This was the October choice for our book group and I must say it proved to be a popular one given that several of the group had moaned ‘not a Le Carré’ when I suggested it; however this one’s relative brevity, tautness and utter plausibility Read More

Those maddening real-life Mad Men …

From Those Wonderful Folks Who Gave You Pearl Harbor: Front-line Dispatches from the Advertising War by Jerry Della Femina. This book was originally published in 1970 – an insider’s guide to the goings on in the ad industry in the 1960s by a guy who was there – one of the original Mad Men.  Thanks to the success Read More

An Education – See the film, read the book

Usually I always read the book before the film, but in the case of An Education by Lynn Barber, I saw the film on DVD first. In this case it didn’t matter, for the events that were adapted for the film, composed just a chapter in her memoir.  It was originally written as an article for Granta magazine and Read More

A novel to make your skin creep…

Skin Lane by Neil Bartlett Mr F has worked for 33 of his 47 years in the fur trade in 60s London and is a master cutter who takes pride in his work. A bachelor, he leads a strictly ordered life, running by a to the minute timetable that rarely deviates. It’s not a normal Read More

Songs of Blue and Gold by Deborah Lawrenson

A few weeks ago the author of this book Deborah Lawrenson, having followed a trail from a comment I’d left on dovegreyreader scribbles to my blog, sent me a note to ask if I’d like to read her latest book. I was absolutely delighted, as once I’d visited Deborah’s website her books sounded very much Read More

Inside Out: A Personal History of Pink Floyd by Nick Mason

Inside Out: A Personal History of Pink Floyd by Nick Mason Nick Mason has been with Pink Floyd right from the beginning – through all the band’s incarnations and troubles. He makes a genial host in his biography of the band, yet he proves too easygoing and unconfrontational to give us much analysis of the Read More