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Book Reviews
Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink
Thank God for Elvis Costello’s acerbic sense of humour which makes the experience of reading his memoir, Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink such scurrilous pleasure as you read first-hand of the anarchy and insouciance of being an Attraction at large in Tokyo and in the USA. Paul McCartney, Alain Toussaint, Chet Baker, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen and many more folks you will recognise number among the glittering cast of characters, but always somehow placed in measured perspective by the memoirist. While there are some interesting sidelights into his personal life – a holiday in Russia with his son Matt - the book mostly confines itself to the amazing musical odyssey. Superb. PK
Paul Theroux Deep South
After fifty years spent travelling the world and writing about it - and often brilliantl -, Paul Theroux decided to drive through the Southern states of the USA and ask a few questions. In the course of a number of visits, months or seasons apart, and often circling back to the same towns, - places with wonderful names like Greensboro or Orangeburg - the author explored unemployment, homelessness, and the race question. He learned about Klan activities and how segregation worked, outsourcing to China, towns almost dead on their feet. Theroux’s book ponders with tactful sympathy the vexed questions that continue unresolved. Paddy Kehoe
Charles Townshend Easter 1916
Welcomed by many when first published last year, Easter 1916 The Irish Rebellion may well be the definitive account of the 1916 Rising. The historian is fascinating on the actual week of fighting and his impressive understanding military logistics and the strategic significance of locations makes for a panoramic and accessible account. He introduces each chapter with short quotations from PH Pearse and Joseph Plunkett, WB Yeats and Eamon de Valera. Townshend shows himself equally adept in his analysis of the fateful year through the 442 pages of what is a deeply absorbing study. Paddy Kehoe
Jonathan Bate Ted Hughes
Ted Hughes was Poet Laureate of England from 1984 until his death in 1998. He and Sylvia Plath, an American, married in June 16, 1956, Bloomsday, a date chosen to honour James Joyce. Plath committed suicide on February 11, 1963 at the age of 30, when they were living apart. Hughes received a wave of late acclaim for Birthday Letters, a memoir in free verse about life with Plath, much of it tender and wistful in tone, published in 1998, shortly before Hughes's death from cancer. Bate's story vividly evokes the thrills and passions, but also the anguish and trauma of Ted's life. P K
James Shapiro 1606
James Shapiro received much acclaim for his last book, 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare which explored a particularly important year for Shakespeare and for England. In the course of it, the Bard wrote four of his most famous plays, Henry V, Julius Caesar, As You Like It, and Hamlet. In terms of the literary legacy, 1606 was, most importantly, the year of King Lear, as explored in this sequel , as it were. The plays Macbeth and and Antony and Cleopatra were also product of what was clearly a highly fruitful year in terms of productivity. Paddy Kehoe

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