Desert Island Books

It’s impossible to choose what you’d take to a desert island – where do you start? I’ve picked a starter-pack of ten terrific books, but the moment I jotted them down I wanted completely different novels. One day I must sort out all my books into ‘read’ and ‘yet to read’. King Dido Alexander Baron […]

Crime: When Bad Thoughts Cross The Line

As writing novels in the crime genre is a big part of what I do, I thought I should start an occasional column about crime. I’m particularly interested in unconventional incidents. Following on from Jon Ronson’s book about public shaming, I started looking up more unusual cases in which someone has ended up in court […]

When An Adaptation Adds Something New

I recently saw two theatrical adaptations of books that were also made into films. The first, ‘Let The Right One In’, added nothing at all to the original – if anything, it reduced the ambiguities to one simple reading. The other added immensely to its former incarnations. The latter was the Headlong production of ‘1984’, […]

My Favourite Moments In Novels No. 1

In George Orwell’s ‘1984’ Winston Smith rents a shabby room in the Proles’ part of town where he can conduct his illicit trysts. I suppose now one looks back and sees how much middle-class guilt informed the writing, never more so than in the moment when Smith looks out of the window of his room […]

How Close Are We Now To 1984?

In George Orwell’s dystopian novel, Winston Smith existed in a living hell and was was retrained by the state when he failed to conform. ‘1984’ was the book I studied for my ‘O’ Level English exam, so I thought I’d run a quick check on it to see what’s come to pass. In Smith’s world […]