Category Archives: Literature

Reading list

Advice from Niall Ferguson in a Q&A with the New York Times: If you could require the American president to read one book, what would it be? And the prime minister? I agree with you that it would be wonderful … Continue reading

Posted in Literature, UK politics, US politics | Tagged , , ,

Blind spots

We all reach reach a point in life where we just have to accept that certain books, acclaimed as classics by everyone else, just aren’t going to click with us. P.G. Wodehouse’s works fall into that category, as far as … Continue reading

Posted in Literature | Tagged , ,

Huxley meets Spencer

In the secondhand bookshop.

Posted in Art, Literature, Uncategorized | Tagged ,

Notebook

The temperature that night was -75.8 degrees, and I will not pretend it did not convince me that Dante was right when he placed the circles of ice below the circles of fire. Still we slept sometimes, and always lay … Continue reading

Posted in History, Literature, Notebook, Science, Uncategorized | Tagged , , ,

Notebook

I wanted to ask him  if he was writing, Was he finding the time? For years, as a busy physician, I’d struggled to find the time to write. I wanted to tell him that a famous writer, commiserating about this … Continue reading

Posted in Literature, Notebook, Science, Uncategorized | Tagged , ,

Stripes

[I posted this at The Times’ First Edition Facebook page] Andrew Bacevich, an academic with a rare insider’s understanding of the American army (he was a senior officer and lost a son in the Iraq war) has written a good … Continue reading

Posted in History, Literature, World War 2 | Tagged , , ,

On the bench

For the last few days I’ve been reading “Jeremy Hutchinson’s Case Histories”, a biography of sorts of one of the most celebrated defence lawyers of the last century.  (He’s still  alive, and turned 102 this year.) One chapter is devoted … Continue reading

Posted in History, Literature, Media | Tagged , , , ,

Notebook

As with my psoriasis, the affliction is not entirely unfortunate. It makes me think twice about going on stage and appearing in classrooms and at conferences – all the socially approved yet spiritually corrupting public talking that writers of even … Continue reading

Posted in Literature, Notebook, Uncategorized | Tagged , ,

Notebook

I shouldn’t normally show what I’d written to anyone: what would be the point? You remember Tennyson reading an unpublished poem to Jowett; when he had finished, Jowett said, “I shouldn’t publish that if I were you, Tennyson.” Tennyson replied, … Continue reading

Posted in Literature | Tagged ,

The Nix, the hype

My Times review of the much-lauded debut novel from Nathan Hill: Can a novel attract too much attention? That might sound like a foolish question in the age of digital distraction, when writers know they are competing with the cookbooks of … Continue reading

Posted in Literature, Reviews, Uncategorized | Tagged , , ,