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Beware of the book that is impossible to forget

Most readers will have experienced the sense of panic of picking up their holiday read, only to realise a few pages in that the book is very familiar. It is a sad…

Books as gifts – to buy or not to buy?

There is a tradition in Iceland of giving loved ones the gift of a book on Christmas Eve. Closer to home, as we frantically hit the shops to find that…

Please don’t tell me reading is a waste of time

Conversation at polite dinner parties is constrained by an implicit set of rules. No talking religion, no talking politics and no talking sex. In the future, I might have to strike another category…

Don’t judge a book by its cover, but by its reader

It is easy for a reader to deliver a damning verdict on a book. Whether it is a debut novel or the masterpiece of a genius, the dismissal can be equally swift…

There’s no cure for the post-book blues

In the age of Skype, Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook, it is rare enough to disconnect from friends for an hour, let alone lose a friend for good. But letting go…

Do men and women read differently?

Children’s toys are famously gendered. On the shelves of a toy shop, dolls might stare across the aisle at the army figurines, but never the twain shall meet. And as…

The arts can be an everyday reality

Reality television should come with a warning like that on cigarette packs, such is its addictiveness. Perhaps, then, I would have been aware of what I was getting myself into…

What makes a book ‘good’?

The idea of a book being good or bad is enough to send many book lovers into a flurry of indignation. All books, they might say with fierceness and finality,…

Uniting the generations is not just a fairytale

Children’s literature doesn't always treat the elderly well. Fairytales often depict the elderly as wicked or weak, from the evil witch in Hansel and Gretel to Red Riding Hood’s helpless,…

Rereading a book can be twice as nice

My husband knows almost every line from The Blues Brothers. And nothing would make him happier than to watch it again. I, on the other hand, hate watching a movie…

In praise of trashy novels

More than 130 million Mills & Boon books are sold around the world every year, equating to four books every second.  These books are not just popular, they are a…

Why is it so hard to leave a book half-read?

Having grown up as part of a relatively large Catholic family, I refuse to leave any food on my plate, such is my memory of competitively hungry siblings and the…

A mother’s gift of books

Jewishness is passed down the generations by women. In my family, while scant attention was paid to our Jewish roots, another gift was handed from grandmother, to mother, to daughter…

Anyone who says they’re too busy to read is kidding themselves

Mark Zuckerberg reads a new book every two weeks. Bill Gates considers himself a great reader and Barack Obama packed six books when he went on his summer holiday last…

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