26 Treasures: 4 national museums, 104 objects, 62 words each

I found 26 Treasures in the National Gallery New Year sale. The fact it only cost me One English Pound instead of £15.99 was a significant factor in my purchase: it could facilitate the illusion of my intellectualism (essential in masking the reality that a substantial proportion of my time is spent reading the gossip…

Catullus: the complete poems for modern readers

For Valentine’s Day today, some Roman poetry that is both bawdy and touching. Catullus  (c. 84 – 54 BC) was a Latin ‘neoteric’ poet in Republican Rome – focused on smaller scale stories borne from personal experience, in stark contrast to the ‘Homeric’ poetry which portrayed the feats of classical heroes. His poems were written…

Discovering Surnames: Their Origins and Meanings by J.W. Freeman

As this week’s Random Book of the Week I chose an old book of my Nan‘s, Discovering Surnames, as I wanted to show you the very cute retro 80s book cover. I thought I’d better actually read it before posting. No fraudulent activity on Brontë’s Page Turners. Well I’m glad I spent Sunday afternoon with…

The Penguin 60s Classics Boxed Set (1995)

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of Penguin books – you remember, Sir Allen Lane’s ‘ag’ at failing to find a decent book to purchase for his onward journey at Exeter train station prompting him to launch high-brow paperbacks for the masses, rather than simply frowning meaningfully at the WH Smith lady like…

Twenty-Four Hours in the Life of a Woman by Stefan Zweig (1927)

This 1927 novella is a great introduction to the work of Austrian playwright, journalist and biographer Stefan Zweig, one of the most popular writers in the world in the 1920s/30s who has been enjoying a revival of late. His own tale is not a happy one. Spooked by Hitler’s rise to power in Germany, Zweig…

Yosl Rakover Talks To God by Zvi Kolitz (1946)

On Holocaust Memorial Day, this week’s Random Book of The Week is both a classic of Holocaust literature, and a curious literary phenomenon. Zvi Kolitz (1919-2002) was a Lithuanian Jew who left his homeland in the thirties to live in Italy and then Palestine, where he led recruiting efforts for the Zionist Revisionist movement and…

Ringing in the New Year Book Tag

Thank you very much to Bookish Underdog for tagging me for this! THE RULES: – Link to the person who tagged you – Link to the creator of the tag – Rae @ Bookmark Chronicles – Answer the questions below – Tag friends (or not if you don’t feel like it) THE QUESTIONS: 1. Best…

Woman: An Intimate Geography by Natalie Angier

In Woman: An Intimate Geography, Natalie Angier takes us on a journey through the magic of the female body, exploring the science behind each of its wonderful parts and functions – ovaries (the ‘gray sacks of heirloom pearls’), the womb, breasts (here by accident, apparently), the clitoris, female chromosomes, hormones (oestrogen is a mysterious creature),…

Sacred Hunger by Barry Unsworth

Barry Unsworth’s 1992 Booker Prize-winning masterpiece is an epic tale centred on the mid-18th century journey of the Liverpool Merchant from Liverpool to Africa and the American colonies as part of the ‘triangular’ Atlantic slave trade, ‘the greatest commercial adventure the world had ever seen, changing the course of history, bringing death and degradation and…

A Calendar of Consolation, selected by Leonard Woolf (1967)

Happy New Year! After the surprising turmoil of 2016, I  spent some time today thinking about which coping mechanisms will help me face whatever 2017 may bring. A good deal of this revolved around listening repeatedly to the poet Jon Bon Jovi’s rousing message of hope, Keep the Faith, until I realized I needed to…