Moll: The Life & Times of Moll Flanders by Sian Rees

In The Life & Times of Moll Flanders, Sian Rees retraces the story of one of fiction’s most infamous, intriguing and oft-misrepresented heroines to reveal how thin the line between fiction and reality can really be. It’s 20 years (eek) since I read Moll Flanders during the summer holiday between GCSEs and A-levels. It has…

The Anatomist by Federico Andahazi (translated by Alberto Manguel)

The Anatomist is based on the story of the 16th century Italian scientist, Mateo Colombo,  who discovered the role of the ‘Amor Veneris’ – the clitoris – in female pleasure. Yes, I am talking about ladybits in this week’s post, having decided to throw caution to the Bromley winds and go Marginally Kinky. Perhaps some of…

Girl at War by Sara Novic

Girl at War is a journey through the trauma of the 1990s Yugoslav civil war, told by Ana, a child of war who becomes an adult tasked with coming to terms with its impact. Beginning in Zagreb as war breaks, and moving back and forth between the conflict, Ana’s subsequent new life as a teenager…

Enoch Arden by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1864)

Enoch Arden is a narrative poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, published in 1864 during his stint as England’s longest-serving Poet Laureate. Tennyson borrowed the story from poet, sculptor, and founder-member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Thomas Woolner. As I read this poem, I wondered: exactly how did this excessively-melancholy tale crop up in conversation between these…

The Last Days of Judas Iscariot by Stephen Adly Guirgis

This week’s Random Book of the Week, fittingly for Easter Sunday, is a play which revisits one of the Bible’s most controversial episodes by getting some of its main players (even Satan himself) and other historical figures to argue it out in (what sounds like) a modern-day Bronx courtroom. In The Last Days of Judas…

Oblomov by Ivan Goncharov (1859)

Oblomov is the story of a very likeable but lazy Russian aristocrat who spends his days lounging at home in his dressing gown. No, not just when he’s nursing a stinking hangover which the usual cure of a salt ‘n’ vinegar crisp sandwich fails to remedy. EVERY DAY. The depth of Oblomov’s inertia spawned the…

Mother: Portraits by 40 Great Artists by Juliet Heslewood

This week’s Random Book of the Week is a quick post as I shortly have to make the trek from Sarf to Norf London in order to worship at the altar of The Woman Who Gave Me Life. Yes folks, it’s Mothering Sunday, that day of the year when Clintons et al make a lot…

If Only They’d Met: The Book of Imaginary Meetings by David Cohen

In If Only They’d Met, David Cohen uses a healthy dollop of artistic license (time travel, a lack of language barriers) to imagine the conversations that might have taken place if certain famous characters of yore had had the chance to meet. There are some inspired pairings – Coco Chanel trying to get Queen Victoria…