The Bubishi is sometimes referred to as the bible of karate. Such a moniker is misleading as it is not a religious text. What it is is a comprehensive manual designed for students of the martial arts. I emphasise this point because it is quite esoteric in its nature and requires interpretation to get the... Continue Reading →
In the past I've written about entire novels being lost or buried for centuries, but today I'm going to write about novels that were partially finished when their author died. People have been waiting 11 years for The Winds of Winter (by George R.R. Martin), and my wife has been waiting 20 years for the... Continue Reading →
Oh my Lord
Jeffrey Archer didn't start out as a novelist. His first calling/passion is politics. Along his journey he has done some fundraising for various charities for which he was made 'Baron Archer of Weston-super-Mare' and gaining the title 'Lord Archer'. So what drew this Lord to start writing novels? It was a burden of necessity. In... Continue Reading →
1984: The book that borders on prophecy. So why did the author change the ending?
Nineteen Eighty-Four or 1984 as it is also known, is one of the most famous books ever published. It has inspired countless imitations, cultural touchstones, and introduced language which has become part of our everyday speech such as 'Big Brother', 'Thought Police' and 'Doublethink'. It is even one of those rare books which is deemed... Continue Reading →
An unbelievable true story…
Helen Demidenko caused a stir in literary circles in the mid 1990s. I remember at the time wondering why there was such a fuss? After all, the crime she was accused of was that she had made up her family history (and surname) in order to promote her novel, The Hand that Signed the Paper;... Continue Reading →
Go Set a Watchman
Imagine you love writing and have managed to have a few short stories published and a friend says, "Here's a year's salary, take a year off and go write a novel." While it sounds like a fantasy most authors would have, it really did happen to Nelle Harper Lee. A family she was friends with... Continue Reading →
The Answer My Friends
What is literature? Most people would answer this with reference to novels or collections of short stories. The Nobel Prize committee took a different view in 2016, causing much debate about this topic. So what did they do that was so controversial? They awarded Bob Dylan the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature "for having created... Continue Reading →
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Poisons Himself.
On September 20th, 1879 the British Medical Journal published a letter entitled “Gelsemium as a Poison” in which Doyle recounts his use of gelsemium as a treatment for neuralgia (nerve pain). Gelsemium is also called Yellow Jasmine (or Jessamine). This was not something which had been prescribed for him. This was before he had invented Sherlock Holmes, so it... Continue Reading →
Rediscovering a “Lost Work”
The Nag Hammadi library is a collection of early Christian and Gnostic texts discovered near the Upper Egyptian town of Nag Hammadi in 1945. It is comparable to the Dead Sea Scrolls in terms of its literary significance, though less well known. Please note that what follows is a discussion of the texts and their... Continue Reading →
A Very Hungry Success Story.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a children's picture book designed, illustrated, and written by Eric Carle. The book features a very hungry caterpillar who eats his way through a wide variety of foodstuffs before going into a cocoon and emerging as a butterfly. It is one of the few childrens books I remember reading as... Continue Reading →