An Introduction to the complete Dead Sea Scrolls by Geza Vermes

When these scrolls were first found in 1947 in 11 caves at Qumran, the word ‘revolutionary’ was used to describe their significance. Nowadays, such an emotive word has been replaced by a more mature assessment. The opinion at present is that the scrolls have mainly provided an insight into the history and beliefs of theContinue reading “An Introduction to the complete Dead Sea Scrolls by Geza Vermes”

Living Pictures by Polina Barskova

Polina Barskova was born and brought up in Leningrad over 30 years after the end of the siege of that city by the Germans during WWII. The siege lasted from September 1941 to January 1944. The siege cast a long shadow which still affected the lives of the children in the 1970s and early 1980s.Continue reading “Living Pictures by Polina Barskova”

Strange Loyalties by William McIlvanney

This is the third novel in the original Laidlaw trilogy. The death of his brother Scott in an apparent accident – Scott was drunk and hit by a car driven by a newsagent – has upset and angered Jack Laidlaw. His intuition says it was no accident and so he determines to find out whoContinue reading “Strange Loyalties by William McIlvanney”

A Smile in the Mind’s Eye – Review

Lawrence Durrell had a lifelong interest in and sympathy for the philosophy of Taoism. Since he read the Tao Te Ching which contains a description of the great motor of the universe and its works, he felt that it was what he believed in. The first half of this short book covers the visit ofContinue reading “A Smile in the Mind’s Eye – Review”

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

This was the first time I’d read a book by Neil Gaiman. This is more of a fairy tale than say Terry Pratchett’s books. In Stardust we have the story of Tristan Thorn who lives in the earthly village of Wall, which is well named as it’s right by an ancient barrier that separates itContinue reading “Stardust by Neil Gaiman”

Lost Time: Lectures on Proust in a Soviet Prison Camp – Review

Polish artist and soldier Jozef Czapski brought Marcel Proust’s A La Recherche du Temps Perdu to life for an audience of prison inmates in a series of lectures. Czapski gave these lectures entirely from memory. He and the inmates were in a Soviet prisoner-of-war camp. They were the lucky ones as the Soviet authorities killedContinue reading “Lost Time: Lectures on Proust in a Soviet Prison Camp – Review”

Why universities are making us stupid

I’m a bit behind in reading my New Statesman magazines, so it was only on 8th April that I read the above article from the 10-16 March 2023 edition of the magazine written by Adrian Pabst. Some of the points are incredibly accurate and can also be applied in the working world and aren’t accurateContinue reading “Why universities are making us stupid”

The Nativity by Geza Vermes

Scholarship. I’m seriously thinking about putting all my other books that I want to read in a massive pile somewhere and just reading this author’s work one after another until I’ve completed them all. Geza Vermes places the story of The Nativity in its historical context and examines the Infancy Gospels to separate tidbits ofContinue reading “The Nativity by Geza Vermes”

The Hobbit – Book Review

First published in Great Britain in 1937, The Hobbit must be one of the most influential books of the first half of the 20th Century and should be read by anyone who enjoys a good story. Bilbo Baggins is the only son of Belladonna Took and Bungo Baggins and lives in a hobbit hole inContinue reading “The Hobbit – Book Review”

A Very Short Introduction : Spinoza

Normally, I like this series of books, but in the case of Spinoza I have to give only two stars out of five. I’m not sure if that’s down to Spinoza or the author. The only ideas that I understand are: Men are mistaken in thinking themselves free, and this opinion consists in this alone,Continue reading “A Very Short Introduction : Spinoza”