Index, A History of the—A Bookish Adventure: Dennis Duncan

Published by Allan Lane “The humble back-of-book index is one of those inventions that are so successful, so integrated into our daily practices, that they can often become invisible.” Dennis Duncan has taken the index from the back pages into the forefront in this informative and entertaining book. Who would have imagined that a history …

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Podcast: Reading for our times—Reading around the world

Some years ago, a friend and fellow bookworm, Kristine Goulding, suggested on this blog that we read a book from every country in the world. And so the reading challenge was born, with only one rule: the writer has to be from the country. We've taken our time over it, but we are now up …

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Daemon Voices: Essays on Storytelling—Philip Pullman

“[T]he image of the reader is solitary. We are each alone when we enter the borderland and go on to explore what lies in it and beyond it, in the book we’re engaged with. True, we can come back and and talk about it, and if we talk well and truthfully and interestingly enough we …

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Listening to the Writer’s Voice

I'm looking at close to half an hour of standing over the stove, staring into a pot as I stir, maybe stepping away for a few seconds at a time to check on this or that, open the refrigerator and put something away, or just look out the window. I block out the impatient honks …

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Are book reviews important?

Given the content of this blog, it's pretty clear where I stand on this. But there are writers who question the point of a book review and can be scathing about reviewers. In this article in The New Statesman, Chris Power defends the point of the review. "Reviews don’t matter. 'I never really trust reviews,' …

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Recognizing the Talent of the Translator: The Subtle Art of Translating

From time to time, this blog showcases books in translation to tempt readers to explore writing from countries that do not always make it to the bestseller lists. But we often overlook the work of the translator, who has not only to be fluent in two languages but has to be able to write. The …

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Saying goodbye to an iconic bookshop: Imran Ali Khan

The Strand Book Stall in Mumbai has been an icon for readers. Books of all sorts piled everywhere, where readers were encouraged to browse and get into conversations with like-minded people. It was one of my favourite places: a trip to Bombay (as it was called then) was incomplete unless I had been to Strand. …

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Frantumaglia: A Writer’s Journey—Elena Ferrante

Translated from Italian by Ann Goldstein How much do you need to know about the writer to be able to enjoy their books? Nothing at all, according to Elena Ferrante, author of the Nepolitan Quartet and other books. She writes under a pseudonym and refuses to reveal her identity, insisting that her books can speak …

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West African Books with Unconventional Approaches to Gender and Power (from Electric Lit)

One of the things this blog tries to do is to highlight books from outside the usual UK-US cannon. We live in a rich, varied world, and as readers, we are ideally placed to explore this richness through books. This is what lay behind the reading challenge that some of us set ourselves. From time …

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