Sicily: Island of Beauty and Conflict

Sicily: Island of Beauty and Conflict

The author opens his book with a quote from Winston Churchill writing about the Balkans, ‘They produce more history than they can consume,’ underlining the problems facing any writer trying to bottle the essence of Sicily. He cites beauty, conflict, civilisation and chaos as being the four ingredients that define...

Read more
Set the Night on Fire: L.A. in the Sixties

Set the Night on Fire: L.A. in the Sixties

This new book could not have come out at a more apposite time, unlike poor William Sitwell’s The Restaurant, the History of Eating Out, just when you couldn’t. For the past weeks there have been demonstrations, not just in the US, but in the UK, about the brutal killing of...

Read more
Turn the page for Independent Bookshop Week 2020

Turn the page for Independent Bookshop Week 2020

From online events with bestselling authors, to a picture book celebrating key workers, to virtual bookshop crawls, Independent Bookshop Week 2020 (20-27 June) is in full swing this week. Organised by the Booksellers Association (BA) and sponsored by Hachette, the annual celebration of independent bookshops across the UK and Ireland...

Read more
Sons of the Waves by Stephen Taylor

Sons of the Waves by Stephen Taylor

The subtitle of this weighty tome is ‘The Common Seaman in the Heroic Age of Sail’, which charts the history of Jack Tar from when Francis Drake circumnavigated the Globe on the Golden Hind in 1577, with 166 seamen on board, until the age of steam, when Britain literally ruled...

Read more
Pat Barker, Joseph Coelho and Allison Colpoys, and Catherine Doyle win the Independent Bookshop Week Book Awards 2019

Pat Barker, Joseph Coelho and Allison Colpoys, and Catherine Doyle win the Independent Bookshop Week Book Awards 2019

The Independent Bookshop Week (IBW) Book Awards have today revealed the 2019 winners, as voted for by independent booksellers and to celebrate IndependentBookshop Week (15 – 22 June). Winning in the Adult category is Pat Barker with The Silence of the Girls (Penguin), a re-telling of the Trojan War from the perspective of the slave girl Briseis. Catherine Doyle’s The Storm Keeper’s Island (Bloomsbury),...

Read more
Doorstep Library – National Volunteers’ Week

Doorstep Library – National Volunteers’ Week

 It’s National Volunteers’ Week and here at Doorstep Library we want to celebrate all that our amazing volunteers do for the local London communities we work in.  Doorstep Library is a literacy charity that believes in the power of words to take children places, not just in their imagination, but...

Read more
Stefan’s Zweig’s Chess

Stefan’s Zweig’s Chess

Stefan Zweig was born and flourished within the environs of a bourgeois, patrician Europe that was irrevocably destroyed by the carnage of the World Wars. Born in Vienna to a wealthy Jewish family in 1881, he lived what seemed to be a charmed life. As a callow 19 year old...

Read more
Malta and Gozo: An artist’s view

Malta and Gozo: An artist’s view

  Richard Cole was a cartoonist for The Times, The Daily Telegraph, CBS and Channel 4 News, amongst others, in the time-honoured, cross-hatched style of David Levine. His drawing of the then Labour Prime Minister of Malta, Dom Mintoff in 1975 set him off on a journey, culminating in this...

Read more
Les Miserables

Les Miserables

The cottage industry of ‘Les Mis’ has gradually occluded Victor Hugo’s mammoth opus in much the same way as an encrustacean of barnacles cloak a ship’s hull. Over 50 years of dreaming a dream and singing the song of angry men has rendered the tale culturally wan, reduced to the...

Read more
The Age of Surveillance Capitalism

The Age of Surveillance Capitalism

  If you want a scary read, put down that Stephen King horror and pick up this weighty tome by the Professor Emerita at Harvard Business School. Her findings about knowledge, power and data in the digital age are truly shocking. The internet behemoths, Google, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft, quickly...

Read more