Tag Archives | books

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The thrill of travelling light

I am on a transatlantic flight the dayafter the London 2012 Paralympics closing ceremony. I pass athletes from Brazil in the departures lounge, and awheelchair athlete for Team USAis boarding my flight just ahead of me. It has been a wonderful summer ofwatching the Olympics and Paralympics, and no-one wants it to be over. On […]

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BOOKS: Lost on Planet China

Pollutionand imaginative foods are the key impressions which writer Maarten Troost takesaway from his travels in China, in “Lost on Planet China.” I know him from his “The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the EquatorialPacific“, so his exaggeration for comic effect is not unexpected, but hisobservations on the air quality in Beijing, Shanghai and […]

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Sherlock’s Periodic Table

Was the Blog the only one to spot the periodic table on Sherlock Holmes’s bedroom wall, in the brilliant new 21st-century Sherlock on BBC TV? The dashing Sherlock, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, shows he is not only a man of science, but a man of chemistry, in the first two episodes of the second series, […]

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BOOKS: Zombies at Grangemouth – “World War Z”

The Blog had never ever read a zombie book or watched a zombie film (unless we count Sean of the Dead), and was quite happy to keep things that way until the news broke that Brad Pitt was at the INEOS Grangemouth chemicals site making a film of the zombie book “World War Z.”   […]

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BOOKS: The Fear Index

It is not high art, but Robert Harris’s most recent book, The Fear Index, is well-written and the plot rattles along at a brisk pace. It is just the thing for a long flight if you are interested in trading, markets, algorithms, finance and risk, with a bit of murder, Darwinism and Swiss tourism thrown […]

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BOOKS: Solar by Ian McEwan

Last week I met someone by the name of Chandrasekhar in a meeting about publishing technology. The name was familiar, I said, thinking maybe it was someone I had met in business, or someone from school.   “It is the Indian Smith,” he said. “But it is also the name of the only Indian winner […]

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Books: Wolf Hall – It’s all about the money

“Wolf Hall,” winner of the 2009 Man Booker Prize, is the book that everyone is reading on the beach this year, according to “I-Spy for Adults” in the Times.   I borrowed it and read it in the Devon garden of our house swap friends in between bouts of summer rain.   Set in the […]

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Tetra Pak heiress eyes Granta literary windfall

Granta, the most influential English-language literary magazine, owned by Sigrid Rausing, heiress to plastic packaging giant Tetra Pak, will open an online archive this week of more than 30 years of new writing, according to an article today in guardian.co.uk.   The quarterly journal, more like a slim paperback book than a magazine, featured writing […]

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Books: We Are All Made of Glue

I liked “A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian” so much, I read Marina Lewycka’s second book “Two Caravans” straight off. It’s another black comedy, but now I’m struggling with “We Are All Made of Glue.” I thought it would be good for the plane but halfway through, I find I don’t care much for […]

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Chemicals Book Column: The Shape of Water

Andrea Camilleri’s “The Shape of Water,” set in the seedy but sunny corruption of Sicily, is a recent addition to the Blog’s long defunct series of Chemical Book Reviews.   When I wrote here about how I was conned into paying full price for the third of the Stieg Larssen trilogy, and revealed myself to […]

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