Books

Now With Extra Weirdness!

I hope you’ll forgive me for banging the drum about forgotten authors again this week, but the paperback came out a few days ago, now updated and with new material, and I feel I should do a spot of advertising. Regulars, stand down. So, in case you’re new here, this is my most recent non-fiction […]

A New ‘Forgotten Author’

Here it comes, on October 3rd – the snappy paperback version of ‘The Book of Forgotten Authors’. But the stories of 99 missing authors are now the stories of 100. I’ve revised the hardback, updating it with any publication changes that have happened in the one-year interim between the editions, and decided to add a […]

Bonkers New Books For Autumn

October, the time when all the weird books come out (including mine – more on that tomorrow). Last night the legendary Scala Cinema in King’s Cross rolled back the decades for the launch of my pal Jane Giles’s awesome Scala book, the definitive volume on this epoch-defining club/cinema/crazy space, covering everything from its punk years […]

Still Undecided About E-Books?

A couple of days ago the author Jake Arnott and I hung out for the day, to talk about books in more depth; most of us bump into each other at events in the UK and don’t get a chance to properly chew the fat. He surprised me by mentioning that he doesn’t read e-books. […]

Moving, Hilarious…And Forgotten

Norman Collins had the prime requirement for a writer; he was naturally interested in the daily lives of others. He was a populist and a bit of an ethnographer, but these days we remember him better for his other career, first running radio’s Light Programme (which had grown out of popular entertainment for the forces), […]

‘I Say, Look Here!’

You have to get past the language first. Then the attitudes of the times; servants are there to be berated, foreigners sniggered at, women to be divided into maiden aunts and popsies, men rated by their class. But once you strip away the ephemeral language you often find diamond-bright tales of deception. Martin Edwards is […]

Table of Contents

Short stories are easy to write. Good short stories are tricky. Great ones are all but impossible. They become poems where every word has to carry its weight, and I have yet to write one which satisfies me entirely. When it comes to read, you occasionally find a perfect tale. I own hundreds of short […]

Cleverdick Novels

Time for a round-up of what I’ve been reading and can recommend. I’m sure authors like to be thought of as smart and knowledgeable in book choices, but it would seem there’s a subset of reading we could term Cleverdick novels, partly because they’re about being clever for the sake of it, partly because I […]

A Step In The Dark For Man Booker Prize

As the Man Booker Prize for literature announces its annual long list, it has once more made headlines for taking an unusual step. The Booker is one of the most prestigious literary awards in the world (I would include it in a list that features the Pulitzer, Nobel and Neustadt awards) but it has not always […]

Is Reading About It As Good As Going There?

Readers often prefer books to be set where they live, so that they can easily identify with surroundings. Something wonderful can happen when you read someone else’s take on the streets you know. ‘Rosie Hogarth’, ‘Hangover Square’, ‘The Low Life’ and even ‘101 Dalmations’ are all books that allow Londoners to see familiar places afresh. […]