Date Archives February 2010

“West Indian Folk Tales” retold by Philip Sherlock

What struck me about these stories is the similarity between traditional folk tales in different parts of the world. I grew up, of course, with British or European stories, whereas these stories are either of Carib or African origin. Yet many of them sounded familiar, not in the specifics but in the general themes — explaining the world and how… Read More

Monday morning inspiration

“Let our imagination guide us – and never cease to follow it, for if we do, we grow up and the child inside us is no more.” – seen in Starbuck’s, Muswell Hill

Reading 8 or 9 hours a day

George Lamming also said something quite amazing in his speech, and I forgot to mention it in my last post. He mentioned that he reads for 8 or 9 hours a day, and has done throughout his life. If he doesn’t read that much, he feels – I forget the word he used, but basically unsatisfied, hungry for more. After… Read More

George Lamming on “The politics of reading”

While I was in Barbados over Christmas and New Year, I went to a literary event – the 12th annual award ceremony for the Frank Collymore Literary Endowment, on Saturday 9 January 2010. The keynote speaker was George Lamming, probably Barbados’s best-known writer. He gave a fascinating speech on the politics of reading, which I am finally getting around to… Read More

Monday morning inspiration

Many of life’s failures are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up. – Thomas Edison

I’m old

It was one of those moments when you realise you’re old – or at least no longer young. I am working on editing the draft of my next novel, and decided to go to a cafe – somewhere I hadn’t been before, a fresh location for a fresh perspective on the manuscript. All was going well as I got an… Read More

British “state of the nation” novels

One of my fellow Legend Press authors, Mark Piggott, wrote an interesting article in the Independent about ‘state of the nation’ novels. I thought it would be complaining that nobody’s writing about contemporary British issues these days – there’s been quite a bit of that recently, because historical novels have been getting a lot of the awards and attention lately…. Read More

“Gustave Flaubert” by Andrew Brown

This is not your standard biography. Translator Andrew Brown abandons the usual chronological approach in favour of an entertaining, thematic narrative that moves through Flaubert’s life by a kind of free association. The first chapter, for example, is on the spire of Rouen cathedral, and the second on the spiral of Flaubert’s life, “a matter of many returns, not always… Read More

“The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger

When I talked about why I blogged, I used to use this book as my stock example. Here I am in September 2008, for example: The original idea of this blog was to provide somewhere for me to record the books and articles I read. I forget things so easily: I know I’ve read “Catcher in the Rye”, for instance…. Read More