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So you want to be a writer? Get drinking

Advantages: Interesting, unusual treatment of an interesting subject
Disadvantages: Rather rambling in places; no index; poor quality illustrations

...Coming from a family with an alcoholic background, Olivia Laing became fascinated by the idea of why and how some of the greatest works of twentieth-century literature were written by those with a drink problem. The list soon became a very long one. Dyl ...

JOHNV 15.04.2014 ∑ Read full review
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Review of The Trip to Echo Spring - Olivia Laing

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Mr Benn - Without the Dressing Up but with Plenty of Adventures

Advantages: A life lived to the full
Disadvantages: A sad sense of the end of an era

...Mr Benn When the opportunity arose to get a pre-publication copy of Tony Bennís final diaries, A Blaze of Autumn Sunshine my hand shot up quicker than my brain could actually process what Iíd just done. Iíve long been an admirer of this controversial ...

koshkha 15.01.2014 ∑ Read full review
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Review of A Blaze of Autumn Sunshine - Tony Benn

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I love the sound of breaking glass

Advantages: A quite different look at the Jewish WW2 experience
Disadvantages: Shocking in places so not for the over-sensitive

Clear as Crystal ĎBroken Glass Broken Livesí is Rita Kuhnís first hand account of growing up in Berlin in the 1930s and 40s during Hitlerís Nazi regime. You could be forgiven (sort of) for thinking that surely thereís not much more to be written abou ...

koshkha 06.11.2013 ∑ Read full review
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Review of Broken Glass, Broken Lives - Rita J. Kuhn

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Ollie, the big-hearted brawler

Advantages: Very in-depth, objective portrait of Reed from all sides
Disadvantages: None

For rather more of his career than he, his family and closest friends might have liked, the name of actor Oliver Reed was a byword for booze, brawls and all types of laddish behaviour. As Sellersí very full and remarkably objective biography reveals, it ...

JOHNV 18.09.2013 ∑ Read full review
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Review of What Fresh Lunacy is This? The Authorized Biography of Oliver Reed - Robert Sellers

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The man they dubbed 'Laughing Lenny'

Advantages: Very penetrating study of the man, his life and work
Disadvantages: No discography or bibliography of his own work

If you or I wanted to write a story about an imaginary figure who began as a novelist and poet, then became acclaimed as a singer-songwriter in the swinging sixties, made and lost a fortune, became a monk, and returned to a musical career at an age when m ...

JOHNV 25.07.2013 ∑ Read full review
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Review of I'm Your Man - Sylvie Simmons

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