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Another Period: Comedy Central Meets Downton Abbey

Comedy Central has tapped directly into my soul with their new half hour show, Another Period. This show satirizes reality shows like Keeping Up With The Kardashians and period dramas (especially Downton Abbey) by placing a turn of the century rich family in Newport (The Bellacourts) under a reality show microscope. Show More Summary


I like to ponder past significant events. This month there are two giant ones. I would like you to consider: The signing of the Magna Carta in 1215 and the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. The Magna Carta was a … Continue reading ?

Ancient Arts: On Independent Catholic Literature and Edward Mullany’s ‘The Three Sunrises’

In the present literary moment, earnest religious belief is a subversive, counter-cultural move. God is not absent, but God seems more ironic metaphor than serious matter.

The Gospel of Loki by Joanne Harris

The Gospel of Loki is Norse Myth told from Loki’s point of view, and wow, is it entertaining. It’s not a romance since Loki pretty much shits on everyone who loves him and then is all “Why meeeeeeee?” But it’s relevant to our interests...Show More Summary

Filling in the Bloomsbury puzzle

In March 1923 a large birthday party was held in a studio in Bloomsbury. It is often assumed that the eponymous Group was habitually glum or intense; but there were… Read more The post Filling in the Bloomsbury puzzle appeared first on The Spectator.

The hardest man of all

From the unpromising and desperately unforgiving background that forged his iron will and boundless ambition, Temujin (as Genghis Khan was named at birth) rose to build an empire that was… Read more The post The hardest man of all appeared first on The Spectator.

Recent crime fiction

The act of reading always involves identification: with the story, the characters, the author’s intentions. Renée Knight takes this concept and pushes it to dangerous extremes in her psychological thriller… Read more The post Recent crime fiction appeared first on The Spectator.

Into the blue

Jenny Balfour Paul is an indigo dye expert. She has written two books on the subject, and lectures around the world. A librarian alerted her to the mention of the… Read more The post Into the blue appeared first on The Spectator.

Sex, violence and lettuces

There is something cruelly beautiful, delightfully frustrating and filthily gorgeous about a Scarlett Thomas novel. Two family trees open and close this book: one shows what the characters think they… Read more The post Sex, violence and lettuces appeared first on The Spectator.

Carrying on regardless

This big, bristling, deeply-furrowed book kicks off with a picture of the British countryside just before the second world war. Apparently we then grew only 30 per cent of our… Read more The post Carrying on regardless appeared first on The Spectator.

Social climbing through the basement

This book has brought out my inner Miliband. A punitive mansion tax on all properties with garden squares in Notting Hill? Hell, yes! Friends, I’d go further: flight taxes on… Read more The post Social climbing through the basement appeared first on The Spectator.

Licence to kill

One morning in March 1921 a large man in an overcoat left his house in Charlottenburg, Berlin, to take a walk in the Tiergarten. A young man crossed his path,… Read more The post Licence to kill appeared first on The Spectator.

‘It’s always wrong to starve’

‘My mother and father named me Aron, but my father said they should have named me What Have You Done, and my uncle told everyone they should have called me… Read more The post ‘It’s always wrong to starve’ appeared first on The Spectator.

The devils’ advocate

Jeremy Hutchinson was the doyen of the criminal bar in the 1960s and 1970s. No Old Bailey hack or parvenu Rumpole, he was the son of Jack, a distinguished practitioner… Read more The post The devils’ advocate appeared first on The Spectator.

Dick Whittington for the 21st century

Novels of such scope and invention are all too rare; unusual, too, are those of real heart, whose characters you grow to love and truly care for. The Year of… Read more The post Dick Whittington for the 21st century appeared first on The Spectator.

Novels About Novelists

Does everyone have sub-genres within genres for which they hold an unusual fondness? I can't resist a good infidelity story (really, can anything beat Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow?) I can rarely refuse the intricacies of inter-racial...Show More Summary

‘Being Nixon’ and ‘One Man Against the World’

Two new books try to make sense of the life and presidency of Richard Nixon.

Q&A With Boudoir Photographer and Author Jen Rozenbaum

The genre of boudoir photography had quietly been on the rise until lately. Now a booming industry, and although the term boudoir means "a woman's bedroom or private room," both photographers and clients are overcoming fears and inhibitions...Show More Summary

Painting the Poet's Vision

One recent Friday night while working in my brownstone studio, a loud party was taking place on the deck of a carriage house my window faces across the backyard garden. Playwright Arthur Miller once resided in that carriage house long before I moved to Brooklyn Heights. Show More Summary

When It Comes to Crime Novels and Profanity I Say WTF (Why The Fuss)?

I write crime novels for a living and every now and then I get an irate review on Amazon or Apple from a reader outraged by the presence of offensive language and blasphemy in my books, demanding to know why I need to be so boorish,Show More Summary

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