Filed: Books and Words

Warlord Chronicles

I finished reading the latest of Bernard Cornwell’s Last Kingdom series last year and on the strength of my enjoyment of those books I decided to go back to his much earlier Warlord Chronicles series.

The three books in the series are a retelling of the Arthurian legend from the perspective of the Derfel, one of Arthur’s warlords and close friend and is told in retrospect from Derfel’s old age. Read more ›››

The Nowhere Man

When we holidayed in Paxos last year the plan was to travel light. After all, we were only going to be there for a week, so one carry-on case each was the rule.

Lightening the load as far as I was concerned meant not taking six or seven books (at least three hardbacks) when I couldn’t possibly read them all in the time available. So I took just two. Read more ›››

A Sporting Salesman*

As I’ve mentioned before, I quite enjoy an episode of the game show Pointless, mainly because it is a bit of fun to try and come up with the most obscure answers.

The bit I often struggle with are the anagrams like the one on the left, I think because they require a degree of general knowledge even before you can start rearranging the letters. Read more ›››

Christmas Cornucopia

Now that Christmas has passed, I’m afraid I have some bad news for you – if you add up the value of the presents you bought for other people and subtract the value of those you received then you almost certainly made a loss.

It has nothing to do with your relative generosity or having children to buy for, but something that clever economists call a deadweight loss. Read more ›››

Word of the year: For the Oxford Dictionaries it was ‘post-truth’ which is the epitome of brevity compared to Austria’s word of the year: ‘Bundespräsidentenstichwahlwiederholungsverschiebung’. Those 51 letters translate as ‘postponement of the repeat of the runoff of the presidential election’.

Yakety yak: An early example of post-truth came in April when a story about a man who bought a yak online when spaced out on sleeping tablets went viral. But it wasn’t true. Read more ›››

Am I Alone in Thinking?

I happened to pick up the above titled volume of the unpublished letters to The Daily Telegraph, the first in fact that came out in 2009. Among all the usual nonsense it covered the US election of 2008 and there were several missives that give a clue as to what happened last week.

What happened, of course, was a spike in ‘Make America Great Again’, or ‘Make America White Again’ according to some reports. Read more ›››

Having caught up with my reading while on holiday, I was hunting around on Amazon for something else and somehow landed on Solomon Creed by Simon Toyne.

The blurb on the cover cried Sunday Times Bestseller and advised: If you buy one thriller this year, make it this one. So I added it to my order and I’m so glad that I did. Read more ›››

I bet you didn’t know that the English are mad, hypocritical, impossible, ridiculous, cunning, simple and many other terms that, taken together, cancel each other out.

We also won’t talk to strangers, are only serious about cricket and stamp collecting, and can generally be relied upon to fall asleep after Sunday lunch. Read more ›››

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