25.4.12

Book recommendation: 'A Week in December' by Sebastian Faulks


"A vicious satire on modern life." -- Daily Telegraph, review in the best of the recent financial fiction

"The novel is cleverly plotted and eminently readable..." --The Sunday Times

"Faulks never writes a hackneyed or lazy sentence, polishing each with care" -- Independent on Sunday

"a zeitgeisty novel about the effects of greed, celebrity, the electronic age and the fragmentation of urban life." -- Cath Kidston Magazine

"It's gripping stuff [...] Sweeping and satirical, A Week in December is a thrilling state-of-the-nation novel."
-- Cath Kidston Magazine

"This intriguing book... takes the reader on a whistle-stop tour of society..." --Waterstone's Books Quarterly, November 2010

"One can't mistake Faulk's ambition, and his take on the contemporary life is never less than readable" --Sunday Herald



Available from Amazon.co.uk

18.4.12

Book recommendation: 'The Path to Pupillage: A Guide for the Aspiring Barrister' by Georgina Woolf and Alexander Robson


"This is a great little book, most informative." Phillip Taylor MBE, Richmond Court Chambers

"...an invaluable compass for any budding pupil andits publication could not be timelier." Counsel

"Anyone aspiring to practise at the Bar will wish to purchase this invaluable book" From the Foreword by the Right Honourable the Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers,the President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom



Available from Amazon.co.uk


11.4.12

Book recommendation: 'Starter for Ten' by David Nicholls


"Is David Nicholls' Starter for Tena throwback? Many readers look back with nostalgia to a recent golden age of comic writing, when David Lodge, Malcolm Bradbury and Tom Sharpe were producing some achingly funny work, with brilliantly realised characters. But Nicholls' sharp-as-nails novel has all the comic acumen of his great predecessors (along with their frequently-utilised university campus milieu) and, like Lodge and co., Nicholls writes real characters, not just boobies suitable only for pratfalls and sexual embarrassment. So even though the situations may often be ridiculous, we're still engaged by the protagonists.

Here, they are university student Brian Jackson and aspiring actress Alice Harbinson. Brian has arrived at his place of learning with a stronger desire than the acquisition of knowledge: he's going to be a star of TV's hottest quiz. But his progress on "The Challenge" is somewhat stymied by his growing desire for the beguiling Alice, struggling to make her mark as an actress. And as obstacles impede their affair, Brian becomes more and more convinced that only overwhelming success on the quiz show will win her.

What makes this novel such a delight, apart from the strongly drawn characters (both major and minor) is the coruscating dialogue: Nicholls writes comic dialogue like a dream, and his targets are many and varied: the idiocies of love and sex, the ludicrous pursuit of meaningless TV celebrity, fat cat businessmen lining their pockets--you name it, and it's probably here; Starter for Ten is a panoply of modern Britain with all its glories and excesses writ large. Nicholls wrote the third series of the hit TV series Cold Feet, which is as good a demonstration of his credentials as one could wish for. But Starter for Ten is his best work; there are no false notes struck by miscast actors, just prose that has a comic energy not often encountered these days."



Available from Amazon.co.uk

4.4.12

Book recommendation: 'Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?' by Michael Sandel


One of the world's most interesting political philosophers (Guardian )

Justice is a lucid and compelling analysis of our current moral dilemmas, which argues for a new commitment to citizenship and the common good (Shirley Williams )

In the beautifully concise explanations of American philosopher Michael Sandel, I see great insight into our current predicaments. If any political reckoning is on its way . . . then perhaps it might come from the philosophy department of Harvard (Madeleine Bunting )

Michael Sandel, perhaps the most prominent college professor in America,...practices the best kind of academic populism, managing to simplify John Stuart Mill and John Rawls without being simplistic. But Sandel is best at what he calls bringing 'moral clarity to the alternatives we confront as democratic citizens'.... He ends up clarifying a basic political divide - not between left and right, but between those who recognize nothing greater than individual rights and choices, and those who affirm a 'politics of the common good,' rooted in moral beliefs that can't be ignored (Michael Gerson Washington Post )
Michael Sandel transforms moral philosophy by putting it at the heart of civic debate....Sandel's insistence on the inescapably ethical character of political debate is enormously refreshing (Edward Skidelsky New Statesman )

A spellbinding philosopher.... For Michael Sandel, justice is not a spectator sport.... He is calling for nothing less than a reinvigoration of citizenship (Samuel Moyn The Nation )

An ambitious and an appealing idea. Intriguingly, I find myself persuaded that it might well be worth a try (Lisa Jardine, The Times )

More than exhilarating; exciting in its ability to persuade this student/reader, time and again, that the principle now being invoked-on this page, in this chapter-is the one to deliver the sufficiently inclusive guide to the making of a decent life (Vivien Gornick Boston Review )

Sandel explains theories of justice...with clarity and immediacy; the ideas of Aristotle, Jeremy Bentham, Immanuel Kant, John Stuart Mill, Robert Nozick and John Rawls have rarely, if ever, been set out as accessibly... In terms we can all understand, Justice confronts us with the concepts that lurk, so often unacknowledged, beneath our conflicts (Jonathan Rauch New York Times )

Available from Amazon.co.uk