Category Archives: Books

The Brimstone Wedding by Barbara Vine (1995)

Ruth Rendell by another name. It was OK – it kept me turning the pages, and the quasi-parallel lives of two women in dull marriages and their lovers was cleverly done. A good sense of place: Norfolk/Suffolk borders this time. … Continue reading

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The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James (1881)

I had to read this book several years ago for a literature course and enjoyed it. This second reading increased my enjoyment; one of the good things about knowing the plot is that you can concentrate on the writing and … Continue reading

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The Lake of Darkness by Ruth Rendell (1980)

You may always know what you’re getting with Ruth Rendell – a friendly neighbourhood psychopath in a very recognisable neighbourhood (north London in this case) – but you never know exactly what to expect. Obviously it won’t end well: the … Continue reading

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My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier (1951)

A book that I read as an adolescent, having seen the film with Olivia de Havilland and Richard Burton on television. News of the release of a new film piqued my curiosity, so I read the book again after a … Continue reading

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The Man who was Thursday by G K Chesterton (1908)

The terrorist murders in France and Germany last year made me think more about previous eras when ordinary life was shattered by ideologically-driven violence. I recalled the IRA, Red Brigades and Baader Meinhof Gang and I wanted to read something … Continue reading

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My Life and Times by Jerome K Jerome (1926)

It was my father who recommended Three Men in a Boat to me when I was a teenager. (He also suggested P G Wodehouse, yet I never knew him to read fiction. I’m saddened now that I never thought to … Continue reading

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The Cement Garden by Ian McEwan (1978)

L’Étranger written by an affectless, acned adolescent? It does teenage indifference and self-pity very well – that sense of bewilderment, self-centredness without self-awareness, making new discoveries but not really understanding them. It’s an unsettling story, beginning with the death of the … Continue reading

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