Kit de Waal’s “My Name is Leon”

I came across this book completely by coincidence. I had an awkward gap between meetings and seminars at the London Book Fair and I saw that Kit de Waal was speaking at the time. I knew she writes for The Guardian occasionally, so I decided to trot along to the talk. It was interesting enough for me to buy her debut book My Name is Leon. … Continue reading Kit de Waal’s “My Name is Leon”

Thomas Paine “Common Sense” – book review

Attempting to review Thomas Paine’s Common Sense is somewhat absurd. After all, as a political pamphlet, it set itself one task above all: to persuade its readers and that aim it has unquestionably achieved. You cannot possibly read an account of the American Revolution which does not mention Thomas Paine. America’s independence seems now to be unquestionably common-sense. Yet it was fascinating to read Paine in … Continue reading Thomas Paine “Common Sense” – book review

Joseph Conrad “A Personal Record” – book review

This is not a chronological autobiography – Conrad doesn’t go through all the events of his life. Instead, he focuses on what one might call turning points: when he decided to join the navy, when he wrote his first novel, when he revisited his hometown after 20 years absence. The whole is a carefully crafted meditation on what it means for him to be a writer. … Continue reading Joseph Conrad “A Personal Record” – book review