Book review: The Complete Enderby by Anthony Burgess

Read in the Kindle edition   Julius Xavier Enderby, poet, is one of my all-time favourite literary characters. Book 1 – Inside Mr Enderby, published under the pseudonym Joseph Kell in 1963. We first meet Enderby through the eyes of a group of time travelling school children, on an educational trip to visit some of the poetsContinue reading “Book review: The Complete Enderby by Anthony Burgess”

Book review: Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh

Let’s start with the title. About ten years ago a film was made of this novel, but due to wrangles with the Waugh estate the film was called “Bright Young Things” not “Vile Bodies”. (This is from memory, unverified by Wikipedia). The name change mattered, because the irony of the phrase “Bright Young Things”” isContinue reading “Book review: Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh”

Coming Up for Air by George Orwell, 1939

Apart from 1984 and Animal Farm, Orwell is best known for his journalism. And rightly so – his earlier novels have the feel of a writer learning his craft, not in terms of crafting a sentence, but in terms of developing a plot, story, and characters. In this later novel (1939) George Bowling is aContinue reading “Coming Up for Air by George Orwell, 1939”

Comment: Favourite Authors (Four) – Poets

Favourite writers, continued – Poets. 31. William Blake, largely for Jerusalem 32. T.S. Eliot. When I studied Eliot in 6th form I was either told, or believed independently, that Eliot was impenetrably hard. Not surprisingly I found him thus. Returning to Prufrock or the Wasteland decades later something has happened, and they have become accessible,Continue reading “Comment: Favourite Authors (Four) – Poets”

Comment: Favourite authors (Three) – Playwrights

More favourite writers – playwrights this time. 21. Tom Stoppard – for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, some delightful playing with ideas. 22. Samuel Beckett. When Waiting for Godot was first performed in the 1950’s it left most audiences bewildered. It is a sign of the times that there can now be a passing referenceContinue reading “Comment: Favourite authors (Three) – Playwrights”

Comment: Favourite Authors (Two)

Favourite authors – fantasy and science fiction Douglas Adams. I first encountered Douglas Adams’ work on the radio, which is probably where it worked best. This must have been the late 70’s I guess. I can still remember the time and place, (if not the date). The books are a joy – try the DirkContinue reading “Comment: Favourite Authors (Two)”

Comment: Favourite Authors (One)

As this will be my 50th blog entry, I thought I would succumb to some list writing – in this case my 50 favourite authors. Now I haven’t prepared this list in advance, although I have of course given it some thought, so who knows if I will get to 50? Shakespeare. Of course. StellaContinue reading “Comment: Favourite Authors (One)”

Book review: The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler, 1939

Chandler is one of my favourite writers – top 5 at least, and pretty much everything he published is consistently readable. As such I don’t really have a favourite novel of his but if forced to choose it would probably be “The Big Sleep”. This is Chandler at his sublime best. Philip Marlowe, his iconic hardContinue reading “Book review: The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler, 1939”

Book review: The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

Occasionally a new series is announced on television. The director is someone well known, the lead actors are famous, the production has obviously (from the trailers) had a lot of money spent on it. So you tune in with high expectations…. but end up a bit underwhelmed – the whole is less than the sum ofContinue reading “Book review: The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter”