About Rob

Rob, a self-confessed bibliophile, is without any hope of rehabilitation. He gets unnaturally excited over anything book-shaped, and if book sniffing were a crime then he would have been locked up years ago (which wouldn't bother him in the slightest provided his cell was lined with books).

‘Book Bites’ for Thursday 18th May 2017

Essay Prize 2017 shortlist revealed - Non-fiction essay publisher Notting Hill Editions have just revealed the 2017 shortlist for their biennial Essay Prize; a prize awarded to the best unpublished essay of between 2,000 and 8,000 words on any … [Read more...]

‘Book Bites’ for Wednesday 17th May 2017

In Mexico City with Lucia Duero - One of my favourite translated literature websites is Words Without Borders, and one of my favourite features is their 'The City and the Writer' series, in which they interview writers about the city which they … [Read more...]

‘Book Bites’ for Tuesday 16th May 2017

In The Footsteps of Marcel Proust - It's somewhat befitting that director William Friedkin in this piece for the New York Times mentions devouring everything he can find on Marcel Proust, because ever since I took Monsieur P. into my heart, I've had … [Read more...]

Into the world of Wodehouse…

What with elements of social media becoming more and more a den of despair of late, and my regular reading turning somewhat morbid (Alphonse Daudet’s In The Land of Pain and Katie Roiphe’s The Violet Hour to name but two - both extraordinary titles, … [Read more...]

Honoré de Balzac on the impossibility of knowing Paris wholly

I can’t seem to draw myself away from classic French literature of late. Proust is always on my reading cycle - À la recherche du temps perdu is nothing if not a perpetual undertaking - but over this past year or so I’ve also been continually dipping … [Read more...]

Chekhov Shorts: Polinka

Title: Polinka Date Read: 11 April 2017 Word Count: 1698 Briefly: The dressmaker's daughter Polinka arrives at the arcade with an order for her regular draper. It soon becomes clear however (to the reader at least), that shopping is not the only … [Read more...]

Chekhov Shorts: Drunk

Title: Drunk Date Read: 11 April 2017 Word Count: 2206 Briefly: Dining in a closed-off restaurant with his lawyer, manufacturer Frolov becomes more and more irritated as he becomes more and more drunk. What it is the source of all of Frolov’s … [Read more...]

Devouring de Maupassant: The Hand

Title: The Hand Date Read: 10 April 2017 Available Online?: YES Briefly: With everyone gathered around the fireplace, M. Bermutier takes the opportunity to relate the tale of English hunter Sir John Rowell, and the terrible fate that befell him. … [Read more...]

Devouring De Maupassant: Mother and Son

Title: Mother and Son Date Read: 10 April 2017 Available Online?: YES Briefly: Maitre Le Brument ('the illustrious judge'), tells of the time that he was summoned to the bedside of a dying woman, and asked to seek out a certain heir, long missing … [Read more...]

Chekhov Shorts: The Witch

Title: The Witch Date Read: 03 January 2017 Word Count: 4678 Briefly: A storm rages around the estate church, and sexton Savély Gykin is convinced that his wife is to blame, in an attempt to lure men to their hut. Afterthoughts: An interesting … [Read more...]