Alice Dunn

The best moments of music in literature

Haruki Murakami said that ‘I feel that most of what I know about writing fiction I learned from music.’ Music and literature enjoy a close relationship. Authors rely on rhythm and tone for their writing. So when a writer chooses to incorporate music into their work, it always makes for a powerful moment, connecting the

The best coronations in literature

‘In her big, white dress the Queen looks like a balloon that’s about to float up to the roof of Westminster Abbey and bob about up there amongst the gilded arches and roof bosses. To prevent this happening people keep weighing her down with cloaks and robes, orbs and spectres, until she’s so heavy that

What to watch on Netflix (while we can still share passwords)

If you share a Netflix account with a friend, relative, colleague, in-law, neighbour or ex whose password you happened to crack, your viewing days may be numbered. The streaming service is planning to fight back against password-sharing – by charging an extra fee to subscribers who let friends and family from other households use their

The best new year celebrations in literature

Literature presents many different ways of observing the new year. Much like real life, the options range from big parties to quiet stay-at-home gatherings… and existential crises. In Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, Meg and Jo March attend a New Year’s Eve party at the home of their family friend Mrs Gardiner. ‘Down they went,

A guide to buying scent for Christmas

Is it presumptuous to buy perfume as a gift without knowing the recipient will like it? Scent is such a personal choice, we are told, ad infinitum. But those in close confines with a person drenched in fragrance will experience it as much as (if not more than) the wearer. Purchasing an eau de toilette

The best out-of-print books (and where to buy them)

Those overstuffed shelves of the latest releases aren’t always the best place to start when you’re shopping for a book to read (or to give as a Christmas gift). You can find plenty of out-of-print books with timeless appeal that are worth snapping up – if you know where to look.   Elizabeth von Arnim’s

The holiday spots beloved by royals

Royal tours in glorious destinations might look like fun but they are technically classed as work. So where do the Royal Family choose to go to get their fix of sunshine and rest? Balmoral and Sandringham have always been favoured by the Queen but there are also several overseas spots that have become firm royal

The joy of car-free islands

No traffic, no pollution, no sound of engines revving at midnight; car-free destinations may be few and far between these days but there’s no better way to escape the clamour of modern life. Perhaps the most delightful car-free retreats are the ones situated most closely to cities: the contrast only adds to their allure. Sail away from Athens for a couple

Five British hotels that have featured in films

The thought of staying in a hotel remains a distant memory for many. To remember how it’s done, and for inspiration of where stay, look no further than your favourite films, and the real-life hotels they feature. The Headland Hotel in Cornwall The Headland Hotel in Newquay was renamed ‘Hotel Excelsior’ for the film ‘The

Books that take you abroad

With foreign holidays off the cards for some time to come, armchair travel has never been more tempting. Here are some of the best books to take you beyond your living room. The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim Four women answer an advertisement in The Times, ‘To those who appreciate wisteria and sunshine. Small

10 forgotten classics to read during lockdown

There’s nothing like the feeling of stumbling upon a book that you love. And that satisfaction is somehow multiplied tenfold if it’s a writer others are yet to discover. Lockdown is the perfect time to acquaint yourself with these underrated novels, some of which were celebrated during their own time but have largely been forgotten by today’s