Book Review – South of the Border, West of the Sun by Haruki Murakami

*Contains no spoilers This is a slim book. In little more than 200 pages you are able to sink into a well-rounded and thoroughly immersive story. In the hands of a less-skilled writer, this would be impossible. For Murakami though, 200 pages is more than enough to captivate and absorb. Big in scope, the story…

I bought this lovely book in Tokyo a month ago and they wrapped it up as though it were made of gold, in its lovely wrapping paper.

Book Review – Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

* Contains no plot spoilers This has to be my favourite Murakami novel so far. Although I’m not even half way through his oeuvre.  The plot is a compelling and slow unravelling of two separate strands. The first strand is the 15 year old Kafka Tamura, a teen runaway who takes refuge in a remote…

Book Review: Life in a Medieval Castle

Book Review: Life in a Medieval Castle by Frances and Joseph Gies

Life in a Medieval Castle is one of a series of compelling historical reference books written by acclaimed husband and wife historians Frances and Joseph Gies in the 1970's. Life in a Medieval Castle (along with companion books Life in a Medieval Village and Life in a Medival City) were re-released in 205 under the weight…

Book Review: In Order to Live by Yeonmi Park

Book Review: In Order to Live by Yeonmi Park

Yeonmi Park has to be the bravest girl/woman in the world. She was born in the North Korean city of Hyesan which is separated by a river to the Chinese border and at the age of 13, she boldly and bravely managed to escape from there and gain her freedom. Yeonmi Park’s autobiography written at the…

Book Review: She Rises by Kate Worsley

Book Review: She Rises by Kate Worsley

*Contains no spoilers. She Rises is an erotic, sea-faring adventure by debut novelist Kate Worsley. Under the tutelage of mentor and maven of the historical novel Sarah Waters, Kate Worsley has created a beautifully sculpted jewel of a novel set in an Essex fishing village in 1740. A word to the wise, the book is…

Book Review: The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene

Book Review: The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene

Robert Greene has written best-selling books on seduction, power, war, self-mastery and now knowledge. Although the sum and total of his output of books gives the wrong impression about the man. He’s not an evil and Machiavellian type jockeying for power – rather his books are about understanding the lesser-known shadowy parts of ourselves to…

An Exquisite Model Book of Calligraphy, 1560

An Exquisite Model Book of Calligraphy, 1560

Have a look at the exquisite pages in Mira calligraphiae monumenta or the Model Book of Calligraphy, which was crafted by Croatian-born mastercraftsman Georg Bocskay, and Flemish artist Joris Hoefnagel. This is a real work of art and shows beautiful attention to detail with the gold leaf writing and sublime illustrations of flowers, insects and…

Book Review: The Romanovs by Simon Sebag Montefiore

Book Review: The Romanovs by Simon Sebag Montefiore

"It was hard to be a tsar. Russia is not an easy country to rule. Twenty sovereigns of the Romanov dynasty reigned for 304 years, from 1613 until tsardom's destruction. by the revolution in 1917" The Romanovs were actually the most spectacularly successful empire builders since the Mongols" , So begins an epic 300 year…

Book Review: The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Book Review: The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

^ Contains no spoilers  Nobel Laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez is more known for his stunning works for fiction. However this short novella his first published peice of work is non-fiction. Garcia wrote this essay in a series of newspaper articles in Bogota over 30 years ago. He tells the dramatised story of a sailor Luis…

Book Review: The Tender Bar by JR Moeringer

Book Review: The Tender Bar by JR Moehringer

Full disclosure, I find all of my books second hand in a charity shop which is particularly full of a lot of good quality books that are at least decade old. Thus I came upon this little gem which was published in 2005. A NYT bestseller (a stamp of approval I think actually bears to…

Book Review: How Not to Die by Dr Michael Greger MD

Book Review: How Not to Die by Dr Michael Greger MD

With its rather dramatic title 'How Not To Die' is a timeless guide to a lifetime of good health. Although there's a lot of these dietary and nutrition books around, none are as stuffed full of scientific references and scientific evidence as this one. In fact a whole third of the book is dedicated to…

Book Review: Eileen by Otessa Moshfegh

Book Review: Eileen by Otessa Moshfegh

The narrator of this novel is an elderly Eileen who looks back on her mis-spent youth in 1964. This book is the blackest kind of noir, but does away with the usual noir narrative tropes. It tells the story of Eileen's entanglement with the enigmatic and beautiful Rebecca who is more a mythological figure than…

Book Review: Codex Seraphinianus by Luigi Serafini https://wp.me/p41CQf-HI

Book Review: Codex Seraphinianus by Luigi Serafini

A surreal art book that redefines the meaning of imagination. Codex Seraphinianus has a lot in common with other bizarre books like the Voynich manuscript. This new edition by Italian publisher Rizzoli was republished in 2013. It has been redesigned by the author Luigi Serafini with includes new illustrations. The fascination and curiosity for Codex…

Book Review: Yoga for People Who Can’t Be Bothered To Do It by Geoff Dyer

Book Review: Yoga for People Who Can’t Be Bothered To Do It by Geoff Dyer

In this travel memoir by novelist Geoff Dyer  I read this book waiting to be immersed into the world of the travel. Although sadly I found the result rather disappointing to be honest. He is a great writer don’t get me wrong - I loved his novel Paris, Trance in the past. This was a…

The Book of Life by Alesha Sivratha

The Book of Life by Alesha Sivratha

Alesha Sivartha’s enigmatic 1898 book The Book of Life: The Spiritual and Physical Constitution of Man, combines mysticism, sociology, theosophy, art and culture into a unique philosophy. Other than its bewildering, and unusual theories, which characterise a lot of the theosophical books of this time, the most striking aspect of this book are the diagrams contained…

Book Review: Tiger Tiger by Margaux Fragoso

Book Review: Tiger Tiger by Margaux Fragoso

This memoir and first book by American author Margaux Fragoso was veritable literary dynamite when it came out in 2011. Or you could call it literary vegemite, in that you will either love the book or hate it. Tiger Tiger charts the complex sexual relationship of the author Margaux with Peter Curran, which began when…

he Act of Love by Howard Jacobson

Book Review: The Act of Love by Howard Jacobson

Written in a highly addictive confessional style, The Act of Love by Howard Jacobson traces the inner life of London antiquarian bookseller and closet sexual pervert Felix Quinn. In this intense novel, Felix takes the reader to the edge of sexual adventure. This is a strange romp in the mind of a guy who cannot…

Book Review: We Are Not Ourselves by Mathew Thomas

Book Review: We Are Not Ourselves by Mathew Thomas

We Are Not Ourselves is the story of an Irish-American family, and the life of the protagonist Eileen Tumulty, which is shaped largely by her marriage to academic Edmund Leary and son Connell. Eileen comes from a hard-drinking, hard-living Irish working-class background. As a child she’s scarred by alcoholism and attempts throughout the book to…

Book Review: The Book That Takes Its Time, An Unhurried Adventure in Mindfulness

Book Review: The Book That Takes Its Time, An Unhurried Adventure in Mindfulness

Part workbook, part guide and part creative journal, The Book That Takes Its Time, An Unhurried Adventure in Mindfulness is a hardcover containing paper-based goodies, such as booklets, postcards and whimsical little notes you can write to yourself.  https://vimeo.com/240654543 Written by Irene Smit and Astrid Van Der Hulst, the creative directors of cult creative magazine…

Book Review: The Domesticated Brain by Bruce Hood

Book Review: The Domesticated Brain by Bruce Hood

This is a riveting read from one of the leading lights of modern psychology, Bruce Hood of the University of Bristol. The book’s main premise is that 20,000 years ago our brains were 10% larger than what they are today. And that the reason for this is primarily the influence of social practices, culture and…