Monday, April 27, 2015


As can been seen from the cover this is a selection of magazine essays collected from an 18 year period.  The majority of the articles are book reviews, with some critical fan boy pieces on his favourites like James Joyce.  But what ever he's writing about, its informative, well researched and makes sense.

There are roughly 200 essays in this collection so there's something for everyone who reads. Some of the best criticisms are reviews of dictionaries, yes he read entire dictionaries!

People criticize e-readers like Kindle but the dictionary function is invaluable when reading something by Burgess.  He has such a monster vocabulary I spent much time doing manual dictionary searches to understand what he was saying-that's the drawback when reading a hard copy.

Burgess, a polymath, did so much,wrote with brilliance and originality, brain the size of a continent but by his own admission" Cannot understand homosexuality", I found this strange and amusing that something as simple as this had him flummoxed.

Monday, April 13, 2015

MIDDLEMARCH - George Eliot

My, have I enjoyed reading this.  Its taken me 7 weeks, I was enjoying it so much I made it my " read in bed only book "and got another two books on the go for the bath and lying on the couch.

Its a big book 700-900 pages depending on your edition but at no time has it dragged as some of these large volumes do.  I read in a review that Elliot has not wasted a word in this and I agree, its wonderful.

I have never read anything that so perfectly describes the human condition.  It has all our little vanities, our greed, our insecurities,our decency and how we love and loathe.

There is no "big" event that drives this, its about life in a small village- that's all and its great for its entire length;.

Proper reviewers have been writing of this book for over a hundred years and describe this novel and events much better than I ever could so I wont bother.  I can best describe it as a soap opera with the most marvelous language and descriptions. The conversations sparkle and if you can ignore the fact that people get about on horseback it could be contemporary.  It has all our modern problems, debt,marriage, death, happiness great sadness.

It also has the best sex scene I've read as well, (might be a stretch calling it a sex scene), but the under statement in the scene where Lydgate and Rosamond decide to become engaged is better than anything explicit.

This isn't a romance novel, much to realistic for that -for me it just encapsulates living.

I will read it again, its in eight parts and the separate books do standalone to some extent so you can dip into it.

Loved it.