Book review: The Black-eyed Blonde by John Banville/Benjamin Black

This should so have been a great find. A new “Philip Marlowe” novel written by John Banville, writing as Benjamin Black. Raymond Chandler is one of my favourite novelist (looking back, I see I put him at number 5 in my top ten, which is there or thereabouts), and John Banville is a Booker prizeContinue reading “Book review: The Black-eyed Blonde by John Banville/Benjamin Black”

Book review: Look Back in Anger (2)

My last post summarised the plot of this play. Look Back in Anger made a big impression when it was first performed in the 1950’s. It caught the zeitgeist in that special way that some works of art do, and because they are so very much part of the cultural, social and political environment inContinue reading “Book review: Look Back in Anger (2)”

Book review: Look Back in Anger by John Osborne

If I was writing this review say 25 years ago, I would not need to provide any details about the content of this play. It formed part of the cultural scenery, largely because of the impact it caused when first performed in the 1950s. Subsequent films (including one with Richard Burton) and revivals meant thatContinue reading “Book review: Look Back in Anger by John Osborne”

Book review: Why Marx was right by Terry Eagleton

Or, irritatingly on the front cover of the book (published by Yale University Press in 2011) “why marx was right” – as if this was some e.e.cummings poem! Anyway, overcoming that minor grievance, I was pre-disposed to like this book. That the ideas of Karl Marx have been too easily dismissed or overlooked since theContinue reading “Book review: Why Marx was right by Terry Eagleton”

Book review: Moab is my Washpot by Stephen Fry

In the second volume of his autobiography (although “reminiscences” would be a more accurate description) Fry mentions performing in “All’s Well that Ends Well” in Queen’s College, Cambridge. I saw that performance, and while I have no memory whatsoever of “our hero” I think the odds are I must have seen him in it too.Continue reading “Book review: Moab is my Washpot by Stephen Fry”

Comment: Terry Pratchett

I had to mark Terry’s passing last week. he went out in great style, tweeting a mini-short story featuring his greatest character (?), Death. It was just the perfect ending. I’ve been reading Sir Terry since the mid 80’s, and pretty much everything he wrote. The DiscWorld series of some 40 novels is a comicContinue reading “Comment: Terry Pratchett”

Comment: Holocaust denial books sold on Amazon

More on yesterday’s entry re Amazon selling race hate material. This story was first broken in 2013, and received some national media coverage, as a result of which (it is claimed, but I cannot confirm) that Amazon withdrew these items for sale, albeit temporarily. They seem to have sneaked back without any publicity. Much ofContinue reading “Comment: Holocaust denial books sold on Amazon”

Comment: Amazonian Extremism

Reading the Amazon reviews of a book I intend to blog about sooner or later, I came across one review which recommended another book, controversially entitled “Enoch was right”. In case you haven’t come across Enoch Powell before, he was a conservative politician who promoted racist ideas in the UK in the 1960s and later. ThisContinue reading “Comment: Amazonian Extremism”