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The castle of otranto 0

Review: The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole

I have to admit, I picked The Castle of Otranto from the library because it was a very slim volume. At 140 pages, it suited me nicely. And then I couldn’t resist this blurb: Manfred, wicked lord of Otranto Castle, is horrified when his son is crushed to death on...

Portland airport pet toilets 0

Portland airport pet toilet and internet jerks

I love the internet, because you get to find out fascinating things. For instance, Portland Airport (that’s in the USA) has installed an indoor toilet area for service animals. Naww, isn’t that cute? In the interest of journalistic integrity I conscientiously googled Portland airport pet toilet thinking I would find...

When do we lose our favourite book- 1

When do we lose our favourite book?

I was doing my daily Yoga with Adriene today (daily is relative) and as we sat massaging our feet, Adriene asked me – through the screen, she spoke to me – what’s your favourite book? Leave a comment, she said, and tell me what your favourite book is. And as...

my mendeley obsession 0

My Mendeley obsession

Everyone needs a little pointless highly-satisfying task to do when you should be doing something else – I mean, something other than Facebook. For me, that’s Mendeley. At first glance, it’s just a citation tool. Basically, you put all your journal articles, research papers, conference proceedings, book chapters, etc in...

Haute Couture bullshit 0

Haute Couture Bullshit

Some designer is making clothes out of cow dung. Look, I’m all for people doing innovative things with waste products, and animal excrement is actually a pretty serious problem. It’s a major contributor to the eutrophication of our waterways, leading to algal blooms and hypoxia (the depletion of oxygen in...

Review- Soul Tourists 0

Review – Soul Tourists by Bernardine Evaristo

Soul Tourists by Bernardine Evaristo is not at all what I was expecting from the cover or the blurb. It is a fairly linear story, but told partly in prose, partly in verse and partly in a sort of condensed dialogue format which swings from internal to external. It doesn’t...

The Perpipatetic Book Lover 0

The peripatetic book lover

It’s not easy being a book lover on the road. My parents (bless them) have several hundred of my books in storage in their garage, and yet I still shipped over two boxes of printed matter! One box of those were my diaries and notebooks and various works in progress....

Such lengths for a loo 0

Such lengths for a loo

Two tales this week show the extraordinary lengths people will go to in order to get a loo. A young girl in Dhanapur village in India went on hunger strike for two days to persuade her parents that they should build a toilet in their home. The 15 year old...

Review-Home Truths (1) 0

Review – Home Truths by David Lodge

We live in a society that is obsessed with celebrity and success. We like to think this is somehow new, but it was as true in 1999 – when Home Truths was first published – as it is now. Adrian and his wife Eleanor live in a nice home in...

The Source of the Thames 0

Source of the Thames

It was on visiting Oxford on a hot, hot day in 2004 that I decided that I wanted to find the source of the Thames. I didn’t know right then that that is what I was after, what I was pursuing. All I knew was that I wanted to know...