Category Archives: Lessons for life

Michel Tournier – Friday or the Other Island


I am happy to report I have read the third in my (self-imposed) Great Twentieth Century Writers task.  After reading two large philosophical tomes originally written in German, I now move on to a slender book originally written in French. But for all its seeming smallness and two-hundred-page length, this book required as much mental focus as its German predecessors. For Friday is a deeply philosophical book. A book about a man stripping away layers of personality and conditioning, in the most extreme fashion. Continue reading Michel Tournier – Friday or the Other Island

A. N. Wilson – The Healing Art

A N Wilson is a tricky writer; one who publicly changes his views and who some regard as deliberately provocative and contrarian. He can be ruthless in his critiques of the works of other authors. Of Richard Adam’s Watership Down  he said, ‘I thought it was possibly the worst thing I had ever read.’ and of Bevis Hillier’s biography of John Betjeman, ‘a hopeless mishmash of a book.Continue reading A. N. Wilson – The Healing Art

John Gray: Feline Philosophy


Herodotus writes that when an Egyptian house was on fire, the inhabitants were more concerned about their cats than their property. When a member of a visiting Roman delegation accidentally killed a cat in 59BC, the man was lynched despite intervention from the king. And the Egyptian sage Ankhsheshonq warned, “Do not laugh at a cat”.


Continue reading John Gray: Feline Philosophy

Lars Gustafsson – A Tiler’s Afternoon

Some years ago I stumbled on a curious blog called Caustic Cover Critic, sub titled One man’s endless ranting about book design which was most interesting in itself, but even more interesting were his occasional forays into the world of little known books. Like many former bloggers he now mainly confines his comments to Twitter, but a few times through the year he comes up with excellent lists of strange books. Continue reading Lars Gustafsson – A Tiler’s Afternoon

Meeting the Devil- A Book of Memoir

The Gerts have long been devoted readers of The London Review of Books (known as the LRB to the cognoscenti). We have passed our copies on to friends and family and have surely accounted for the rise in subscriptions from our harsh brown land. The journal is issued fortnightly, is closely printed, and amounts to around forty-one pages. They no longer have the amusing lonely heart entries in the back pages that used to divert us in the past, but there is always something humourous, infuriating or enlightening to read. Continue reading Meeting the Devil- A Book of Memoir