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literature

This tag is associated with 90 posts

H.G. Wells, ‘The Invisible Man’ (1897)

I’ve had a long relationship with Griffin, the invisible protagonist of H.G. Wells’ science fiction classic, even though I’ve only now come round to reading the novella itself. When I was 10, I vividly remember watching the BBC’s version of The Invisible Man, a series that was originally planned to be shown in the tea-time ‘classic serials’ … Continue reading

Matt Haig, ‘How to Stop Time’ (2017)

We own a tortoise called Rocket but have no idea how old he is. He was inherited last summer from my elderly aunt; she acquired him when her son (now pushing sixty) was a teenager – so Rocket is probably close to fifty himself. When we took him to the vet – who also couldn’t … Continue reading

Philip Kerr, ‘Prussian Blue’ (2017)

I can’t think of many fictional characters who have thrilled and entertained me as much as Bernie Gunther. Inspired to create him after wondering what Raymond Chandler’s detective novels would be like if he’d lived not in Los Angeles but 1930s Berlin, Philip Kerr wrote fourteen Gunther novels, of which Prussian Blue is the twelfth. … Continue reading

Ian McGuire, ‘The North Water’ (2016)

‘The air is filled with the foetid air of butchery and excrement. Drax feels pleasure at this work, arousal, a craftsman’s sense of pride. Death, he believes, is a kind of making, a kind of building up. What was one thing, he thinks, is become something else.’ Ian McGuire’s second novel The North Water is centred on … Continue reading

The Tortoise and the Hare

During a six week summer holiday that everyone I’ve spoken to (whether teacher, parent, friend or family member) agrees has gone ludicrously quickly, we acquired a tortoise. Rocket (yes, really – he can properly shift it when he’s of a mind to) came into our lives and generated great excitement that was not just confined … Continue reading

Iain Banks, ‘The Wasp Factory’ (1984)

I first read The Wasp Factory when I was 18. I’d never heard of Banks; but in 1992 he visited a local bookshop to promote his novel The Crow Road. The write-up in the local paper included something about Banks’ popularity with students, which pricked my curiosity. After a year out, I was moving to Liverpool to start … Continue reading

My Idea of Fun

The last week of term looms. The six week Summer holiday is so close you can almost touch it, its welcome warmth the sun suddenly breaking through clouds. The only thing standing between you and that gentle embrace is five days of lessons. 20-odd hours of teaching. What could be simpler? The temptation of course … Continue reading

Summer Reading 2016

The six week school holiday is coming to an end, and on Thursday I go back to work. Although, that’s not strictly true; I’ve been getting ready for the new term for the last fortnight – lesson plans and seating layouts and all the rest of it. But I’ve still had a clear three weeks … Continue reading

Nicolas Freeling, ‘The King of the Rainy Country’ (1966)

‘I am like the King of a Rainy Country, Rich, but powerless; young, yet feeling wintry; no longer flattered by the obsequious bow; Bored by my dogs and by every other creature now, Nothing brightens my day, not the Hunt, not falconry, Not the dying people below my balcony.’ Not many crime novels take their … Continue reading

Richard Price, ‘The Whites’ (2015)

There’s an enormous amount to love about Richard Price’s crime novel The Whites, enough to make it difficult to know where to start. The title is a reference to Moby-Dick – the white whale that haunts Herman Melville’s novel, and which is hunted mercilessly through its pages but ultimately escapes. In Price’s book, the ‘Whites’ are … Continue reading