In February 2008, I was in despair. I’d given up a good job as a reporter at The Wall Street Journal in New York to pursue my dream of writing fiction, and all I had to show for it was a stack of rejection slips. Exactly a year later, I was standing outside a branch […]
From Dante’s Inferno to Monty Python’s Flying Circus, accounting has often had a bad name. The Reckoning by Jacob Soll goes a long way towards redeeming it, showing how financial accountability has been at the heart of the rise and fall ...
I always promised myself I’d never write a “Sorry I haven’t posted in a while…” post. So this isn’t one of those posts. I’m not apologising, nor am I labouring under the illusion that hordes of you were out there ...
I cannot get out. Something must have happened to the lock. That’s the first line of Hanne Ørstavik’s novel The Blue Room. Are you feeling claustrophobic yet? If I tell you that the entire novel takes place with the protagonist locked in ...
How do you tell the story of a remote injustice to a jaded world? You could make a documentary, or interview the survivors and write a 15,000-word magazine exposé. You could petition the authorities to commission an official enquiry, and wait a decade or two for the results. Hamid Ismailov chose to write a lyrical […]
How would you like to read a book that reacted to your emotions, and changed its storyline to give you exactly what you wanted? It sounds bizarre, impossible and faintly terrifying, but according to this article in NewScientist magazine, it’s coming soon, not just to books, but to movies, TV and other formats. Welcome to […]
As well as The Chinese Garden of Serenity, Vishy also sent me What Sport Tells Us About Life. Again, it was a thoughtful gift. Although I don’t tend to write about sport on here, I’ve always enjoyed watching cricket, and Vishy and I have talked about it quite a bit by email. The author of this […]
My friend Vishy gave me A Chinese Garden of Serenity for Christmas. It was such a nice surprise to open the package from India and see this book, because it showed so much thought. Vishy had seen my posts on the Tao Te Ching and the meditation retreat, and thought I’d like this book. He was […]
The phrase “halcyon days” has always meant nothing more to me than general nostalgia. Since moving to Crete, and more particularly since spending winter here, I’ve learned its original, much more specific meaning. Winters here are very mild compared to what I’m used to from London and New York. It’s around 15°C most days, although […]
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- Ebook vs print sales 31 October 2013
- The limits of automatic recommendation systems 12 December 2013
- 2013 reading highlights 31 December 2013
- I’m back! 21 November 2013
- Halcyon Days 31 January 2014
- The Reckoning by Jacob Soll 2 August 2014
- What I’m Doing When I’m Not Here 8 July 2014
- The Blue Room by Hanne Ørstavik 24 June 2014
- Calling all unpublished novelists: here’s your break! 2 May 2014
- The Dead Lake by Hamid Ismailov 3 April 2014
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