What’s the best book you’ve read this year?

Novels – I spent a lot of the year reading Les Miserables, Victor Hugo’s long, in-depth epic set in the days of revolutionary France. His description of how the French lost at Waterloo reminded me of Tolstoy’s description of the battle of Borodino, another Napoleonic battle just outside Moscow. Hugo suggested that in addition to […]

So Much For That, Lionel Schriver

The most recent novel in our book club is from Lionel Schriver, the bestselling author of We Need to Talk about Kevin. I haven’t read that one, and after So Much for That! I don’t think I will. Shep Knacker is the unlikely hero, who always dreamed of an early retirement with his wife Glynis […]

Notes on Death: The Death of Ivan Ilyich

This short story is usually published alongside other short stories of Tolstoy’s that deal with issues of marriage, happiness, life and death. At about 70 pages (roughly the same length as some contemporary novels such as Ian McEwan’s On Chesil Beach), it is minute compared to Tolstoy’s other epics, but is certainly long enough to […]