I’ve just finished ‘Arthur and George‘ by Julian Barnes.  It is essentially a double biography of two very different people living at the beginning of the 20th century.  The Arthur of the title is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who grew up in genteel but impoverished Edinburgh and George a midlands solicitor who finds himself at the centre of a criminal trial for perpetrating what became known as ‘The Great Wyreley Outrages‘.  Julian Barnes is intelligent and articulate and captures the flavour and essence of the Edwardian era and the emphasis on honour, and goodness and ‘doing the right thing’.

As one who likes to go from one genre to another, I’m currently reading ‘Pies and Predjudice’ by Stuart Maconie – strap line ‘In search of the North’  His quick wit and strong sense of growing up in the North of England in the seventies make it a very funny, sharp and sometimes controversial – if there had been no Manchester, there would have been no communism as it was in the reading room Manchester Library that Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote ‘The Communist Manifesto’.  While probably true, I find it unlikely that they would not have found somewhere else to write it!  While I don’t think this will appeal to those from Hampstead or Chelsea I’m loving it – as the current saying goes.

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