My Bookshelf

Home Life

Well, apart from that Mrs Lincoln, how are you? Healthy, I very much hope and not suffering too badly with lockdown fatigue? So far, my week has included a funeral, a Covid 19 Health and Safety Policy update and a couple of policy debates with my children on the subjects of potty training and number […]

Suitable for Children: Shakespeare in Kindergarten

I read a lot of grown-up books as a child. I now read a lot of children’s books as an adult. My introduction to adult literature actually began as a result of a) a dismal failure in my cultural education and b) through the television. We all have theories brutally disproved when bringing up children and […]

After the Party by Cressida Connolly

The Spectator’s review of After the Party is entitled ‘Shades of the Mitfords’ and it is almost impossible to read this novel without thinking of the Mitford sisters, particularly Unity, Hitler’s hideously-impassioned acolyte, and Diana, married to Oswald Mosley leader of the British Union of Fascists. However, After the Party is a long way from […]

First Impressions of Strawberry Hill House or What I Did On My Holidays

Well it isn’t quite as bad as all that, indeed you could argue that it was entirely a work-related escapade, or at least that it was for research purposes. In short, I went (accompanied by the ever-patient Husband) to visit Strawberry Hill House: Horace Walpole’s extraordinary eighteenth-century creation that is not only the first gothic […]

The Storyteller

Well, you learn something new every day. I learned a few days ago that this last week was National Storytelling Week: thank you Twitter. Philip Pullman once said that every teacher ought to be able to tell a story, just to keep the class quiet for the last fifteen minutes on a Friday afternoon. From […]

Things That Go Boing In The Night: Are We Scared Enough of Gothic Anymore?

My father used to say that his sister (aged about 10) saw the film of Dracula in 1931 and was never the same again. Bela Lugosi is surely the iconic Dracula: clad in cape and evening dress, intoning the heavily accented, ‘I never drink …. vine’. I was nearly 30 when I sat down to […]

The List or The Books That Brought Me Up

Anyone who reads ( and, I suspect, quite a few who don’t habitually read) has The List at the back of their mind, I say the back because the more confirmed the bibliophile the more subconscious the list will become. These are the novels that changed the way you thought; you don’t think about them […]

Pittleworth Manor Stockbridge Winchester

Chasing the Literary Rabbit

In reading (and perhaps in life) I am a chaser of rabbits: I miss the blasted obvious and go careening off after the details: a sort of literary laborador. If I had been Lewis Carroll’s Alice, I would have gone headlong after that albino bunny as well, I’d want to know what kind of watch […]