Behind the Pen: John Steinbeck on the life and death sequence of book writing

I have always considered that while some writers must be glad to see the back of a book they're working on, most must feel quite sad and melancholic about coming to the end, and letting go of something they have devoted much time and effort to. They … [Read more...]

Rob Reports: Spoken Word Sundays – The Appletree Writers at The Fringe

I took time out of Charlotte Square yesterday to go and visit the Appletree Writers in one of their ‘Spoken Word Sundays’ events, which are running on three consecutive weekends during the Fringe Festival. Formed in 2012, the Appletree Writers are … [Read more...]

Site News: Returning from silence, an apology

Dear all, Before I get back into a full-on posting schedule on RobAroundBooks, I feel I should say a little something about the past few months. I don’t usually go in for these ’navel gazing’ kind of posts - mainly because I consider them … [Read more...]

Behind the Pen: Norman Mailer on the influences of Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner

Remarkably, Dwayne Raymond’s Mornings with Mailer (Harper Perennial) has sat untouched on my bookshelf for four years. Or rather it had done until I randomly picked it up on Friday and began reading it. This tender and intimate memoir, which recalls … [Read more...]

Journeying through the Constellation of Genius: Into February…

And so we move into February which signals a new stage for me on my journey through 1922, guided by Kevin Jackson’s Constellation of Genius (Hutchinson). Although distracted massively in January due to family matters, I still managed to read and … [Read more...]

Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award 2014 longlist announced

This year's Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award longlist has been announced, revealing a selection of longlisted short stories described as 'the most wide-ranging yet'. Now its fifth edition, the world's richest prize for a single short story … [Read more...]

Constellation of Genius: Agatha Christie’s THE SECRET ADVERSARY

Given how well read I like to think I am, it may come as a shock to some to hear that I’ve never once wandered the literary landscape of Agatha Christie (Gasp! Horror!). Sure, I know well enough of her literary output but I’ve never read any of her … [Read more...]

Constellation of Genius: Erich von Stroheim’s silent cinema epic, Foolish Wives

I thought it would take a bit of effort and fortitude to sit through two and a half hours of silent 1922 cinema, but actually it turned out to be an enjoyable experience. The film in question was Erich von Stroheim’s Foolish Wives, and I was watching … [Read more...]

Robservations: Of Schopenhauer, on overreading and ignoring the classics

It’s not often that I get deep and meaningful on a Sunday morning, but I did today when I stumbled across an essay collection from nineteenth-century German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860), hosted at the always useful University of … [Read more...]

Tom Wolfe giveaway: And the winner is….

Well folks, my Tom Wolfe SIGNED novel giveaway, as supported by the good folks at, has come to an end and it's time to do that thing I hate doing around giveaways/competitions and announce a winner. It's not the announcing a winner … [Read more...]