the literary lounge

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  ‘Pho is so elemental to Vietnamese culture that people talk about it in terms of romantic relationships. Rice is the dutiful wife that you can rely on … Pho is the flirty mistress that you slip away to visit.’   … SO BEGINS ANDREA NGUYEN’S BRILLIANT INTRODUCTION TO ALL THINGS PHO. Now, I’m a … Continue readings

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   ‘If my future wasn’t in the balance, if I wasn’t scared to hell, I’d say I’ve enjoyed this trial.’ Benson nodded, contradicting Tess’s shake of the head. ‘Honestly. If I’d known what being a barrister involved, if I’d realised what happens in a courtroom, this is what I’d like to have done with my … Continue readings

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  JOHN FAIRFAX is the pen name of award-winning crime writer and former barrister William Brodrick. John, whose new book, Summary Justice, is published by Little, Brown, joins us in The Literary Lounge to answer a few questions. Summary Justice is the first in a new London-based legal series featuring former convict-turned barrister William Benson … Continue readings

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  celebrating that which is noble, wonderful and honourable in all of us That we, in the 21st century, still need some acknowledgement, some recognition, some celebration to say we matter is wrong. And yet, it is what it is. And, I type that with absolutely no intention of being flippant, but just to state … Continue readings

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  Each picture told a story; mysterious often to my undeveloped understanding and imperfect feelings, yet ever profoundly interesting.” – Jane Eyre   WHAT IS IT ABOUT JANE EYRE? What makes the book and, indeed, Jane herself so beloved by so many people? Certainly, the themes of love (bordering almost on obsession), madness, abuse and … Continue readings

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  Everything can have drama if it’s done right. Even a pancake.” – Julia Child   FOR AS LONG AS I CAN REMEMBER, PANCAKE DAY – or ‘Shrove Tuesday’, as it’s also known – has been a much-anticipated date in my diary. This year it falls seemingly early on Tuesday 28 February, but I’ve already … Continue readings

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  It’s a pressure cooker round here, mate. Little things become big things faster than you expect. You’d know that though. –Scott Whitlam to Aaron Falk, The Dry   JANE HARPER’S STYLISH DEBUT, THE DRY, is one of the best crime novels we’ve read in a very long time. Set in Kiewarra, a small town … Continue readings

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  WHAT IS IT ABOUT GILMORE GIRLS THAT SO CAPTURES OUR IMAGINATION? Why do we love it so much? Is it the location, the magical town of Stars Hollow? The weird and wonderful characters, such as Luke and Lane, who inhabit it? The family and friendship dramas that are so very, very familiar? The phenomenal … Continue readings

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  IT’S ALWAYS A PLEASURE TO COME ACROSS AN AUTHOR who we’ve never read before, for no other reason than life’s too short and there are too many good books out there waiting to be devoured. It’s particularly so, if that author fits into the mystery/crime genre, one of our not-at-all guilty and rather favourite … Continue readings

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  ‘I DON’T WANT TO PRODUCE WORK that is a pleasant distraction, then you move on to something else. I would actually like it to … stop their day. To make it an encounter,’ comments artist Marcus Harvey. And, without a doubt, that’s what his art has done since Myra (1995), his portrait of Myra … Continue readings

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  ALL OF US HAVE A FIRST FORBIDDEN BOOK – the one that we never forget, the one that sat so enticingly on the top shelf far out of the reach of small hands. In my case, it was Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls, a big fat white elephant of a book that called … Continue readings

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  SET IN THE AILING TOWN OF BRIDGEFORD, ‘a tiny, inconsequential dot on the landscape of Britain’, where businesses are closing, the streets are littered with scratch cards and local spirit is at all-time low, Gill Hornby’s latest novel, All Together Now, focuses on the power of music to unite. As the town struggles, it’s … Continue readings