The Gambler by Fyodor Dostoevsky

This is a compelling novel about The Gambler, Alexey Ivanovitch, who is working in the household of a Russian General – he was only promoted to this rank on his retirement – who is staying in a hotel in the fictional town of Roulettenburg in Germany. The others in the General’s party include the FrenchmanContinue reading “The Gambler by Fyodor Dostoevsky”

Neutrino by Frank Close

I added this to the ‘travel’ blog as neutrinos are always moving somewhere. Frank Close is Professor Emeritus of Theoretical Physics, and Fellow Emeritus at Exeter College at Oxford University. He was formerly Head of Theoretical Physics Division at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, vice President of the British Science Association and Head of Communications andContinue reading “Neutrino by Frank Close”

The Death of Ahasuerus by Par Lagerkvist

This book is rather different from other books you’ll read. It’s the third novel in a series that began with Barabbas and The Sibyl. Ahasuerus is mentioned in certain Old Testament books such as Esther and numerous scholars have proposed theories as to who Ahasuerus represents – most identify him with Xerxes I. However theContinue reading “The Death of Ahasuerus by Par Lagerkvist”

Winnipeg – Manitoba

An excerpt from a forthcoming book on Canadian cities. I mentioned I was going to visit Winnipeg to several people and their replies contained either the words ‘Winterpeg’ or ‘Windypeg’. When I visited the city and arrived at the junction downtown of Portage and Main I finally understood what they meant. This intersection is supposedlyContinue reading “Winnipeg – Manitoba”

Yellowknife – North West Territories

This is an excerpt from my forthcoming travelogue about Canadian cities. For me, Northwest Territories is where the scale and grandeur of Canada hits home. Northwest Territories is 1 million square kilometres bigger than Germany, whose population is over eighty million. The Acasta Gneiss, the world’s oldest rocks–at least those measured by the radiometric datingContinue reading “Yellowknife – North West Territories”

And Now the Shipping Forecast

The Shipping Forecast is a much-loved part of the British cultural landscape with an avid following of listeners, most of whom aren’t affected by the news it provides. This book describes how the forecast came about along with the science behind the gathering of the information and the inside track on the delivery of theContinue reading “And Now the Shipping Forecast”

An introduction to the complete Dead Sea Scrolls

When these scrolls were first found in 1947 in 11 caves at Qumran, the word ‘revolutionary’ was used to describe their significance. Nowadays, such an emotive word has been replaced by a more mature assessment. The opinion at present is that the scrolls have mainly provided an insight into the history and beliefs of theContinue reading “An introduction to the complete Dead Sea Scrolls”

Casino Royale by Ian Fleming

The first James Bond book that Ian Fleming wrote and I recognised some of the details from the 2006 film of the same name. Le Chiffre is a nearly bankrupt member of the secretive SMERSH organisation (SMERSH is a conjunction of two Russian words: ‘Smyert Shpionam’ meaning roughly ‘Death to Spies’. Le Chiffre and BondContinue reading “Casino Royale by Ian Fleming”

A Smile in the Mind’s Eye – Book Review

Lawrence Durrell had a lifelong interest in and sympathy for the philosophy of Taoism. Since he read the Tao Te Ching which contains a description of the great motor of the universe and its works, he felt that it was what he believed in. The first half of this short book covers the visit ofContinue reading “A Smile in the Mind’s Eye – Book Review”