Sam Leith is enthralled by a masterpiece on monotony, but is devastated by its author’s death
The 18 stories, each around a dozen pages long, in E.C. Osondu’s Voice of America seem to have poured out of him like water. They have a fluency, an evenness of tone and texture, that creates an illusion of transparency and simplicity.
The Radio Times now lists 72 channels, and that’s not all of them.
It’s that time of year. The great reckoning is upon us. Insurance is being renewed. Tax returns are being ferreted out. Roofing jobs are being appraised and budgeted for. And spouses are being trundled into central London for the annual session of dialysis at the theatre.
Great actors and great sportsmen now almost expect a knighthood. Why are great comedians limited to lesser honours?
What do Evelyn Waugh, Peter Cook and Chris Morris have in common? I would have said ‘irreverence’ and left it at that; but the social scientist Peter Wilkin has written a book on the subject, The Strange Case of Tory Anarchism.
Marcus Berkmann on the few genuinely funny books aimed at this year’s Christmas market
A hundred years ago, when Britannia still ruled the waves, the Royal Navy fell victim to a humiliating hoax, reports of which kept the public amused for a few wintry days in February 1910.
Paul Torday was 59 when his first novel, the highly acclaimed Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, was published in 2006.
After the Christmas ‘funny’ books, here’s an even larger pile of Christmas ‘quirky’ books.
My daughter when small came home from school one night singing these extraordinary lines: ‘Fortune, my foe, why dost thou frown on me/ And will thy favours never lighter be?’
Michael Palin is the meekest, mildest and nicest of the Pythons.
Strange Days Indeed, by Francis Wheen
Free association underpins the comedy of Lorrie Moore’s writing — or perhaps the verb should be ‘unpins’, since her prose spins off in tangential, apparently affectless riffs.
Home to Roost and Other Peckings by Deborah Devonshire, edited by Charlotte Mosley
Israel Rank, by Roy Horniman
Last Chorus: An Autobiographical Medley, by Humphrey Lyttleton
Just What I Always Wanted: Unwrapping the World’s Most Curious Presents, by Robin Laurance