Category Archives: Reading watching listening thinking

The BookBenches speak (parodies)

The Jeeves and Wooster bench was the very first one I visited. “Jeeves,” I said, massaging the old lemon, “why is there a painted bench shaped like a book with us on it in the middle of a shopping centre?” “Because,” … Continue reading

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My summer of BookBenching

This gallery contains 90 photos.

The UK’s National Literacy Trust installed 51 public sculptures in London this summer, what they called BookBenches-benches shaped like open books and illustrated with figures and scenes from iconic works of adult and children’s literature. They were organised around “trails” … Continue reading

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BBC National Short Story Award 2014 deep dive

“When you read a short story, you come out a little more aware and a little more in love with the world around you.” – George Saunders As the BBC National Short Story Award is being announced today*, I woke … Continue reading

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The diary of another nobody

It’s the nature of autumn, perhaps- those barred clouds blooming in the soft-dying days (not mine, Keats), days which die noticeably earlier with every sunset now- that has got me thinking more than usual about how long I have left … Continue reading

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Just cherish it all- A small personal tribute to Graham Joyce (1954-2014)

I maintain a roster of writers who live with cancer and write about it in the media, and I check in on them every so often to see how they are. If they seem to be doing fine it makes me … Continue reading

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The view from Maslow’s peak (I) – Living through a thought experiment

A 20th-century psychologist called Abraham Maslow developed a “hierarchy of needs” which he thought human beings had to navigate in order to feel fulfilled in their lives. He depicted it as a pyramid: At the bottom are the bare necessities … Continue reading

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The view from Maslow’s peak (II) – Going with a different sort of flow

Don’t agonize about success or failure. Just do what you must do as well as you possibly can. In the process you may eventually transcend triumph and disaster. That is how to meet those two impostors. Those are the last … Continue reading

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The view from Maslow’s Peak (III) – In my end is my beginning (a personal history)

Every now and then, I see someone post on social media the following passage from the point of view of the protagonist Esther in Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, and every time it is met with a flurry of wistful … Continue reading

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The bee

  Footnotes 1. I used the iPad app Paper by 53– an app that allows people who can’t draw to draw- to create this. I am indebted to the “Mastering Paper by 53” series on a website called Made Mistakes for … Continue reading

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On my bookshelf (I)- Reading habits and paper vs. e-books

Strolling along the South Bank one sunny afternoon, I came across an old friend lurking at a second-hand bookstall under Waterloo Bridge: It was a 1963 Penguin first edition and it was unthinkable that I should carry on without it, … Continue reading

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