The Old Man and the Sea

The Old Man and the Sea

The finest book cover illustration I’ve seen for this slim, timeless, moving book, wrapping around the back cover and even into the back flyleaf.  Oddly, there is no mention of who designed the jacket.  The colours and lines are marvelous.And that font!...
As a conqueror enters a surprised city

As a conqueror enters a surprised city

For Valentine’s Day, a heart-warming account by the first biographer of the poet George Herbert on how he met his wife.Jane Danvers was one of nine daughters of Charles Danvers, who liked George Herbert so much he said repeatedly that he’d be delighted to...
Ill guidance, bad leadership

Ill guidance, bad leadership

A strikingly modern sounding comment by Dante, resonating painfully when the evening news seems to be forever picking apart the latest vagaries of bad leadership.  ‘Ill guidance is the cause of the ill fameThe world has earned, this wicked world of pain -Bad...
Portable, durable bread

Portable, durable bread

This twice-baked Greek bread is known for its durability, keeping for months.  The trick seems to be to know how much to soften it with water when you want to use it. Here is one recipe, and there are others of a sweet version, many of which have a strong resemblance...
Beware the Idomeneus spear

Beware the Idomeneus spear

Famed with good reason – see his bringing another warrior to meet his ‘dark-named destiny’.  However, the most graphic and distressing spearing I recall from the Iliad is by Patroclus, Achilles’ great pal.  And that’s before we let loose...
Beware the rip-fanged hound

Beware the rip-fanged hound

A terrifying image of Odysseus in pursuit of prey, like a flesh-tearing dog on the trail of a defenseless deer or rabbit.  Odysseus, loving son, father, husband, great wise hero and, let us not forget, ‘sacker of cities’.  He’s a complex...
Wine after washing

Wine after washing

A libation to Athene in thanks for her beneficence. But first, a bath and a meal. And then that lovely offering of ‘sweet-hearted’ wine. See also the bestellar reviews, complete with rich quote-mosaics, of Adam Nicolson’s magnificent Why Homer Matters and...
Nervous as horses

Nervous as horses

A jumpy, unsettling opening to a powerful page that drives to the source of fury in Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath. You can imagine horses prancing, shying, frisking, snorting and whinnying, eyeing askance an oncoming tempest. You can imagine that what’s to...
Eyes like lakes

Eyes like lakes

A surprising simile: lake-like eyes reflecting the sky.  Something touching too about the contrast of apparently wide open eyes, and a face that resembles a rocky, ugly landscape. ‘His eyes were almost transparent as though in a country of ugly hills one were to...

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