I’ve been able to concentrate for the first time in months – years maybe – so I thought I’d swing by with these offerings.

On Chesil Beach – Ian McEwen

Typically bizarre McEwan novel but remarkably easy to read and posing some interesting moral/emotional dilemmas.

Life Class – Pat Barker

If you can handle the unswervingly savage detail, London’s Slade Art School in the build up to WW1 and how art and life mix and merge with destruction and beauty I’d give this a go because it’s brilliant. Ultimately what is ‘reality’ and what ‘matters’ when the world is at war – do we have to change (and should we?) how we look at art, society, civilisation etc.

Somme Mud – The Experiences of an Infantryman in France, 1916 – 1919 – E.P.F. Lynch: Edited by Will Davis

Edward Lynch was an Australian soldier who enlisted in 1916 and filled 20 school exercise books with his experiences – it’s quite remarkable.

The Secret Life of  Bees – Sue Monk Kidd

I’ve only just got round to this and I was so moved by it, wonderful characters and a terrible indictment of the treatment of negroes in the United States at the time of Martin Luther King. I don’t know how ‘academics’ viewed this novel  – I don’t much care, there’s so much to applaud and it’s deliciously heart warming.

Lucky Kuntz – The Rise and Fall of Young British Art – Gregor Muir

I imagine this speaks for itself but if you’ve ever wondered about the whole ‘dead cow’,  ‘soiled beds’  and installations = modern art controversy it’s interesting and informative.

The Secret Scripture – Sebastian Barry

The central character is almost 100 years old and she’s reflecting on her life in an Irish mental hospital where she was committed as a young woman. I’d recommend this for the prose style alone which is exquisite but the story so far is engrossing.

The last two actually count as one because I’m dipping in and out of the Art book  when I take a break from devouring ‘The Secret Scripture’ and besides some of you will surely remember my philosophy on life -: “What is the good of a rule, thought Jan, without those who break them!”  Whooooooo hooooo!