Les Tres Riches Heures Du Duc De Berry (1416)

This week’s Random Book of the Week was a beautiful bargain find at one of the legendary basement sales at Any Amount of Books in Charing Cross Road. These basement sales tend to turn London bibliophiles into madder versions of their already mad bibliophile selves. I once got chatting to a very old man who,…

Soldiers of Salamis by Javier Cercas

‘All wars are full of stories that sound like fiction.’ Soldiers of Salamis is the tale of an author searching for the truth in one of those stories, and questioning why we obsess about war stories in the first place. The story in dispute is a real-life Nationalist general’s escape from a Republican firing squad…

Her Brilliant Career -Ten Extraordinary Women of the Fifties, by Rachel Cooke

Her Brilliant Career is a collection of ten mini-biographies of women whose extraordinary professional achievements go some way towards debunking our understanding of 1950s women as obedient housewives happily in exile from the workplace. Cooke’s examples are drawn from vocations as wide-ranging as architecture, cookery, archaeology, gardening, film production, journalism, theatre and rally car driving,…

The Englishman At War, edited by John Freeman (1941)

I must start this week’s Random Book of the Week with a confession: a long line of theft led to me possessing this book. I ‘borrowed’ it from my parental abode a few years ago, my dad had himself ‘borrowed’ it from his own parental abode many years before that, and we think my Granddad…

The (Second, not that I’m bragging) Liebster Award

I was nominated for a second Liebster Award by Midnight Ranter   who, as well as writing a super blog full of interesting book reviews and her own beautiful writings, is extremely patient, given that I was very kindly nominated for this back in June.  Please, do not take this as a lack of gratitude! I am…

Savage Girls and Wild Boys by Michael Newton

This unusual book may rate as one of my more peculiar charity shop finds, with thanks to British Heart Foundation Bromley. Savage Girls and Wild Boys tells the sad stories of children who have grown up outside the framework of the family/care unit, either brought up by animals in the wilderness, or locked in solitary…

The Fairy Flute by Rose Fyleman (1921)

This week’s Random Book of the Week is a 1920s poetry collection for children, all about the little fairies that might live at the bottom of our gardens. Through writing about the ‘fairy folk’ for children, Rose Fyleman became one of the most successful children’s writers of her generation. This collection (there were others, including…

The Sack of Bath by Adam Fergusson (1973)

Another great book from the Persephone canon,  about the destruction of Bath’s unique architecture in the swinging 60s and 70s. I never thought I could be so moved by a book about architecture and its ruination but it proves that Persephone is full of literary surprises – and that I am a soppy git. The Sack of Bath was…