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)

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...]

Chekhov Shorts: Art

Title: Art Date Read: 03 January 2017 Word Count: 2230 Briefly: Preparations for Epiphany celebrations are under way, and as usual the peasant Seryozhka is his short-tempered and angry self. Afterthoughts: I rather enjoyed this quick peak … [Read more...]

And so it resumes….

Well, it’s been quite some time since my words last graced the virtual pages of this website. But here words are, and with them comes the affirmation that RobAroundBooks is back in business. A lot of water may have passed under the bridge since I … [Read more...]

Windham Campbell Prizes: The Art of the Essay

Windham Campbell Prizes have kindly made available a recent 'Art of the Essay' panel discussion, recorded at their 2015 Festival, featuring three leading contemporary essayists (and two of my favourites). The discussion between Anne Fadiman, John … [Read more...]

‘Book Bites’ for Wednesday 4th March 2015

'Which Books Do You Read Over and Over Again?' - I'm a huge advocate for rereading (especially short stories), and so it's nice to stumble across a discussion on the New York Times website that covers this very topic. During the course of the article … [Read more...]