Books, TV and Films, September 2021

As I become more and more disillusioned with day-to-day politics — whether it is the rigidity and staleness of politicians constantly reciting ‘the party line’ or the rise of political lying as an art form and the failure of both parliament and the media to hold proven liars to account — I find myself drawn back to the more civilised world of political philosophy, political theories and ideologies, and underlying values. I very much regret not working hard enough at a unit of my degree called Modern Ideologies. Political Philosophy: A Beginners’ Guide for Students and Politicians by Adam Swift is the sort of introductory text I wish had been available back then.

Dennis Wheatley and To the Devil a Daughter

To the Devil a Daughter

Books, TV and Films, April 2021

3 April I avoid opening Amazon’s emails telling me what their omniscient algorithms think I should be buying and I never even look at the latest fiction and non-fiction charts so, other than skimming the Guardian’s Review magazine on Saturdays, I am always rather…

Books, TV and Films, February 2021

1 February Age of Empire 1875–1914 is the final part of Eric Hobsbawm’s trilogy about what he called ‘the long nineteenth century’, beginning with the French Revolution in 1789 and ending with the outbreak of war in 1914. I bought this book at university…

Books, TV and Films, July 2020

1 July Some thoughts, to begin with, on Philomena and On Chesil Beach, two films I watched last week on the BBC and thoroughly enjoyed. I was already aware of Martin Sixsmith, who wrote the book on which Philomena is based, from his time…

Dennis Wheatley & The Devil Rides Out

Dennis Wheatley and The Devil Rides Out

Books, TV and Films, April 2020

6 April John Barton’s A History of the Bible: The Book and Its faith is proving an absolute treat. My interest in religion and belief systems has developed over the last decade or so, triggered — does this count as irony? — by reading…

Books, TV and Films, March 2020

3 March Back to one of my favourite novelists — Sebastian Faulks. Birdsong is probably his best-known book, but my favourite is Human Traces, a brilliant mix of invention, imaginative reconstruction and exposition of developments in psychiatry and psychoanalysis. I have reached for On…

Books, TV and Films, February 2020

3 February I finished A Divided Spy by Charles Cumming the other day. That means I managed to read four books in January, putting me comfortably ahead of my target. A nice balance, too, of fiction and non-fiction, academic and non-academic, challenging and ‘lighter’…

Hercule Poirot’s First Case

The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie (1920) After revisiting the very final David Suchet TV adaptations on ITV3 fairly recently, I chanced upon a four-novel Poirot omnibus — actually two omnibuses, eight novels in total — in a local charity shop. Serendipity….