Weekly Grab-bag: Greene, Wilson, Arvon

Welcome back. Had the place painted. What do you think? The new colours took a while to grow on me, and clashed awfully with the photo to your right. So I’ve gone for a black and white one instead. But is it too stern, too middle aged? I’ve got an RSS feed, too. Bookmark it and you’ll be able to tell whenever I do a new post (this year, I intend to write a lot more frequently than once a month, circumstances allowing). Thanks for the book recommendations below. Keep them coming. A free CD to the first three posters, all of whose suggestions I’ll get round to. Last night I finished my interim read (mostly a reread), Graham Greene’s Collected Stories. The less said about his final book, ‘The Last Word’, the better, but the book finished with a couple of uncollected things I hadn’t read before. I’m not sure what the uncompleted novel, ‘The Other Side Of The Border’ was doing in a book of short stories but it was fascinating to read. You could see Greene starting to hit his stride. He put it aside to write what turned out to be his first masterpiece, ‘Brighton Rock’. (Update – a quick bit of research tells me that Greene included the unfinished novel in the original version of his first short story collection, ’19 Stories’, only to remove it for later editions).

The next novel I’m going to read is The Hiding Room’‘ by Jonathon Wilson, who wrote ‘A Palestine Affair’, one of my favourite novels of last year. Oh, and while I’m plugging things, the new Arvon Foundation programme arrived this morning, full of week-long courses with writers like George Szirtes, Jackie Kay and Allan Guthrie. I get the programme because I’ve taught one of the courses, but if I wasn’t giving university classes that week, I’d be tempted to go on this course on how to write graphic novels.

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