BOOKENDS: Xmas with the exes

20 November 2010 10:00 am

‘I only see radiators these days’, announces one of the characters in this novel — ‘You know, people who give out heat and warmth.’ A radiator is a pretty good description of India Knight’s Comfort and Joy (Fig Tree/ Penguin, £14.99), too: a book so kindly and funny and affectionate that you could probably warm your hands on it.


BOOKENDS: Flesh and blood

13 November 2010 10:00 am

Flesh. Lots of flesh. That was the simple promise of a Hammer horror film. In this collection of classic Hammer…


BOOKENDS: Inspiration for a cult hero

6 November 2010 10:00 am

This is an odd book: the exhaustive biography of a complete nobody. Vivian Mackerrell was the primary inspiration for the cult that is Withnail. In that, at least, he doesn’t disappoint.


BOOKENDS: A Tiny bit Marvellous

23 October 2010 10:00 am

Criticising Dawn French feels like kicking a puppy. She’s so winning that the nation was even tempted to let The Vicar of Dibley slide.


BOOKENDS: The Diary of a Lady

16 October 2010 10:00 am

On the evidence of Rachel Johnson’s latest book (Penguin/ Fig Tree, £16.99), Julia Budworth, the owner of The Lady, was wrong in her recent accusation that the magazine’s editor is obsessed with penises. Johnson is far too busy talking about testicles. She tells her immediate boss (Mrs Budworth’s son Ben) to ‘grow a pair of balls’. She admits later that he has ‘cojones you can see from space’. She calls one article ‘cobblers’.


BOOKENDS: The Elephant to Hollywood

9 October 2010 12:00 am

The three knights of British cinema have taken disparate routes in their twilight years. Roger Moore jettisoned a hokum career for more worthwhile pursuits as a Unicef ambassador, while Sean Connery settled into his Bahamian golf-resort to champion Scotland’s independence. Michael Caine, however, has added a further veneer to a great body of work.


BOOKENDS: Jump! by Jilly Cooper

29 September 2010 12:43 pm

Never eat at restaurants where they picture the food on the menu. Steer clear of books which explain the characters in a glossary. If you have to give your customers an idea in advance of what to expect, then it follows that your cooking/narrative may not be up to scratch.