Highland Adventures – Jacobites in Literature

If like me you’re waiting to read the next book in the Outlander series until you’ve watched the next season on TV, here are some more Highland adventure stories to keep you going in the meantime. The Outlander series of books and the TV series which it has spawned have proven a massive international success, […]

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The Good Soldier Schwejk – Jaroslav Hašek

Think of a cross between Dad’s Army and Father Ted and just as funny, this unfinished satirical novel by Jaroslav Hašek is the most translated novel in Czech literature. A trenchant anti-war novel, The Good Soldier Schwejk, like many a fine satire, still hasn’t lost its bite despite the passage of time. Thus the novel […]

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Film Review: Pride

With the NHS currently under attack and junior doctors forced to go on strike, I thought I’d take a look at Pride, a recent British film set during the crushing of the miners’ strike and which examines the importance of unions and solidarity even with the most unlikely of partners!   Pride joins a select […]

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Book Review: A Spool of Blue Thread – Anne Tyler

I read A Spool of Blue Thread at someone else’s suggestion. I had no idea what the book was about. Moreover, as an inveterate reader of German literature, I’d never heard of the author, Anne Tyler. I picked up the book, thinking to myself this is so not the type of book I would read. […]

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Book Review: Frankenstein – Mary Shelley

Forget the Hollywood image of the monster with bolts in his neck, Frankenstein, written by the then 18 year old Mary Shelley, is an intriguing read as well as a morality tale, still as relevant for today, if not more so. Within Shelley’s tale of Victor Frankenstein who creates a being that turns into a […]

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Foreign Book Review: Short Stories – Nikolai Gogol

Fancy some surreal satire? Then Gogol might just be for you. Often when you think of 19th century Russian literature you think of worthy tomes which you suspect might be rather heavy going. However the short stories of Gogol are a delight, of manageable size and definitely worth a read! As someone who has a […]

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Film Review: Casablanca

What makes a film a classic? In a nutshell it’s a film that you don’t mind seeing again and again; you can probably hum music featured in the movie, albeit most likely out of tune, and you can at least quote several of the lines. Casablanca fits easily into this classification. Even people who haven’t […]

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Die Welt von Gestern – The World of Yesterday

Stefan Zweig’s The World of Yesterday is less an autobiography more an intensely perceptive historical account of fin-de siècle Europe-up to the start of the Second World War. It may also be the longest suicide note in history. In the book Zweig describes how Europe went from being a place of high culture where everything […]

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Film Review: Calvary

Calvary is a gem of a film.  For starters, it has the eminently watchable Brendan Gleeson as its star, portraying the linchpin of the film, Father James Lavelle.  It also benefits from a wonderfully intelligent script by John Michael McDonagh who adeptly deals with complex issues with a great deal of humour and manages to tell […]

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Foreign Film Review: Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne

Considered a classic, this 1945 French film, directed by Robert Bresson, shows that when it comes to sex and love the French may seem to be more sophisticated than their Anglo-Saxon counterparts; but that nonetheless no one is more determined to wreck revenge than a woman scorned, even a refined and cultured, Parisian socialite.  This […]

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