The art of the spine

I have just finished reading The Speechwriter, by Barton Swaim. It’s an account of the writer’s experience as speechwriter for the Republican politician Mark Sanford, whose presidential ambitions were crushed by revelations of an extramarital affair. Sanford isn’t mentioned by name but is readily identifiable, and I found the the book to be an awkwardRead More

Letters from Sancho

It’s always fun to play that game where you choose the person from history that you would most like to meet. Of course it would be fascinating to meet Cleopatra, or Socrates, or Dante, but language problems would hamper the encounter. So then among the English-speaking I could pick from warriors, composers, thinkers and writersRead More

13 unread classics

Next up, a confessional list. Here are 13 great novels that I have failed to finish. They sit there on the shelves, bookmarks positioned halfway through, taunting me for my lack of staying power. Characters with their lives unfinished, stories left hanging, conflicts unresolved, lessons unlearned. Such books are different to those classics I haveRead More