Volume 07 Issue 2

The SRB Interview: David Campbell

May 13, 2011

Twenty years ago David Campbell relaunched Everyman’s Library with the aim of producing beautiful books in hardback that would withstand the ravages of time. The original Library was the brainchild of Joseph Dent (1849-1926), a self-taught London bookbinder who, in 1906, adopted the motto, ‘Everyman,...

All Shook Up: Japan After The Quake

May 12, 2011

I felt the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011, in the same way that you might get a spot of drizzle from the tip of the tail of a hurricane. At 2.46 pm on Friday, 11 March, I was walking home from the library in a small, quiet town called Daishoji, some 400 miles west of the epicentre. The pavement...

Political Biographers Wanted: Thick Skins Required

May 12, 2011
by David Torrance

A colleague of mine used to have, pinned to her computer monitor, the following rules for good political writing: Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print. Never use a long word where a short one will do. If it is possible to cut a word out, always...

A Nation Without Nationalism

May 13, 2011
by Joseph Farrell

Italy arouses the most diverse and passionate reactions. Faced with such dizzying richness of art, landscape, cuisine and styles of life, dazzled commentators initially respond with an uncritical admiration or besotted wonder which later gives way to a different tone, best defined as exasperation tempered...

Brussels For Beginners

May 13, 2011
by Alexander McCall Smith

Tommaso Rossi joined the Italian civil service at the age of twenty six. For ten years he worked in Milan in an office called Division B, where he was responsible for auditing the auditing process in Divisions C and D. He was not required to do the same for Division A – he did not know why this was...

For Folk’s Sake

May 13, 2011
by Rodge Glass

‘I am not Lemmy,’ writes James Yorkston, in the penultimate chapter of his touring diaries, It’s Lovely to be Here. It would be difficult to confuse Yorkston with Motorhead’s frontman, what with Lemmy’s legendary handlebar moustache, groupies and bottomless jar of whisky. In contrast,...

The Roots of Children’s Literature

May 13, 2011
by Rosemary Goring

It is fair to say that page for page, children’s literature today is of a higher calibre than adults’. Though few of the finest children’s books match the best of the adults’, and there are formulaic, sickly, slapdash and stupid novels for children, just as there are for grown-ups, these are...

When Deceiving is Believing

May 13, 2011
by Brian Morton

‘Hoax’ is a strange, unEnglish sort of word. Sound and sense put it somewhere between ‘jokes’ and ‘hex’, which is about right. It doesn’t appear much before 1800, when it splits in meaning from ‘hocus’, which continues to mean magic or sleight of hand, a notionally blasphemous...

The Enigma of Werner Herzog

May 13, 2011
by Colin Waters

It is a pity Incident at Loch Ness remains unavailable on DVD in the UK. Not only is it a scampish take on the methods and mythology of director Werner Herzog (who acts in and co-wrote the script, but doesn’t in this instance direct), it is also perhaps the closest Herzog will ever come to working...

Volume 7 – Issue 2 – New Poems – Rody Gorman

May 13, 2011
by Rody Gorman

Born in Dublin in 1960, Rody Gorman is a poet who writes in English, Irish and Scottish Gaelic. His first collection, Fax and Other Poems, was published in 1996. A selection of his poems in Irish and Scottish Gaelic, Chernilo, was published in 2006. He also works as a translator: Cavafy, Yeats, Neruda,...

Reviews: INCOGNITO: THE SECRET LIVES OF THE BRAIN

May 13, 2011
by David Eagleman

INCOGNITO: THE SECRET LIVES OF THE BRAIN David Eagleman CANONGATE, £20 272PP ISBN 978-1847679383 David Eagleman’s first book, Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives, a short story collection, was met with critical acclaim. In his day job Eagleman is a neuroscientist at Baylor College of Medicine in...

Reviews: THE TESTAMENT OF JESSIE LAMB

May 13, 2011
by Jane Rogers

THE TESTAMENT OF JESSIE LAMB Jane Rogers SANDSTONE PRESS, £7.99 272PP ISBN 978-1905207589 Jane Rogers has an impressive backlist. Best known for her novel Mr. Wroe’s Virgins, she has been shortlisted and longlisted, won prizes (Somerset Maugham and Writers Guild), and is a Professor of Creative Writing...

Reviews: DUALCHAS AN AGHAIDH NAN CREAG (THE GAELIC REVIVAL 1890–2020)

May 13, 2011
by Domhnall Iain MacLeoid

DUALCHAS AN AGHAIDH NAN CREAG (THE GAELIC REVIVAL 1890–2020) Domhnall Iain MacLeoid CLO BEAG, £6.00 64PP ISBN 978-0-9505640-0-5 Given that Gaelic had been, in the distinguished folklorist John MacInnes’s appraisal, subjected to an extensive and debilitating official campaign of ‘ethnocide’,...

Reviews: THE TREE THAT BLEEDS: AN UIGHUR TOWN ON THE EDGE

May 13, 2011
by SRB

THE TREE THAT BLEEDS: AN UIGHUR TOWN ON THE EDGE Nick Holdstock LUATH PRESS £9.99 256PP ISBN 978-1906817640 Until recently, Xinjiang – the northwestern-most province of China – was known more for the mysteries of its past than its present. This remote land is dominated by the Taklamakan Desert,...

Reviews: THE ECHO CHAMBER

May 13, 2011
by Luke Williams

THE ECHO CHAMBER Luke Williams HAMISH HAMILTON, £18.99 348PP ISBN 978-0241143001 Gullane resident Evie types her memoirs in an attic. In her fifties, Evie’s ‘power of listening’ has been eroded by tinnitus. She’s a very good listener. Her talent is not, as that description would imply, empathetic....

Reviews: THE BOOK OF CROWS

May 13, 2011
by Sam Meekings

THE BOOK OF CROWS Sam Meekings POLYGON £14.99 400PP 9781846971723 In his first novel, Under Fishbone Clouds, Sam Meekings used the experiences of his wife’s family to explore the dislocation and violence of China’s Cultural Revolution. A country with so prodigious a history that it can seemingly...

Reviews: THE BICYCLE BOOK

May 13, 2011
by Bella Bathurst

THE BICYCLE BOOK Bella Bathurst HARPER PRESS, £16.99 356PP ISBN 978-0007305889 Cycling is dangerous. If bicycles had just been invented they’d never be allowed on the roads. Where cars have seat belts, crumple zones and airbags to protect the occupants against injury in a collision, cyclists have...

Reviews: LADY OF THE LOCH: THE INCREDIBLE STORY OF BRITAIN’S OLDEST OSPREY

May 13, 2011
by Helen Armitage

LADY OF THE LOCH: THE INCREDIBLE STORY OF BRITAIN’S OLDEST OSPREY Helen Armitage CONSTABLE, £7.99 PP192 ISBN 978-1849017022 Two months ago, this review would have been written differently. Helen Armitage’s book ends with the departure for African wintering grounds of Britain’s – possibly the...

Volume 7 – Issue 2 – Gallimaufry

May 13, 2011
by Theresa Munoz

THE LAST WEREWOLF Glen Duncan CANONGATE, £14.99 336PP ISBN 978-1847679444 Glen Duncan describes the mysteries of lycanthropy in The Last Werewolf, a smart entry into the horror genre. His hero Jacob Marlowe is a 200-years-old wolf man. As the last of his kind, he is a prize trophy for hunters. Eric...