book clubbing:American Pastoral (1998)

I spent countless hours in bookshops. I love independent bookshops like the London Review where everything is carefully selected and the staff will help you find something totally to your taste, but my favourite bookshops are probably secondhand bookshops, stacked high with all sorts. You feel like you’ve done something satisfactory when you come home […]

iconography:Thea Fenchel

“As for Thea, sometimes she looked more barbarous than they did in spite of the civilized lipstick and conventional shape of the jodhpurs she wore.”   Okay so it has taken me quite some time to get my act together and talk about my third and final Augie March love, Thea Fenchel. but that’s because she’s […]

book club:The Adventures of Augie March (Saul Bellow, 1953)

  I still remember one day in a sixth form English literature lesson, at Northampton school for girls, being intellectually swatted on the nose by a tutor for daring to suggest that (I thought) American novelists lacked delicacy. At the time I felt burningly resentful of the whole thing (especially due to being a teacher’s favourite and something of […]

book clubbing: And You Shall Know Our Velocity! (2002)

After my last literary foray, a near month spent immersed in post-revolution France and epic revenge, I had to opt for something more pacey and contemporary. My brain works like that. Too much of the same thing and I stop being able to focus. But that’s the beauty of literature. There is always something different, […]

book clubbing: The Count of Monte Cristo.

gold manicure while reading I am currently experiencing an ‘I did it! I finally did it!’ moment, you guys. I started Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo just before Christmas, as something to occupy what little free time bar managers get in December, and as of this weekend just gone, I finally finished it. […]