Why I Love my Amazon Kindle

I have been using my Amazon Kindle for over a year now and I am still happy that I bought it. Amazon is quite straightforward in its description of what it can do, and what it can’t. But what it can do suits me just perfectly. Here are the reasons why. 



That Woman: The Life Of Wallis Simpson Duchess of Windsor

A new biography on the Duchess of Windsor manages the impossible: It is more boring than her and of even less consequence. The only amusement to be gained from it is following up the constant contradictions contained in it. 



Madam, Will You Talk

If ever you wanted to go on a holiday to the South of France, this mystery novel is an ideal way to take yourself on a spin through all its best parts. And when you go there on a holiday, don’t forget to take this book along, Mary Stewart’s Madam, Will You Talk serves as a guidebook as well. 


Nelson’s First Love – Fanny’s Story

The story of Lady Nelson is not told often enough, as everyone seems to be captivated by Lady Hamilton. But her story is worth telling as well, one would think. It is nice, therefore, that her biography has been republished after 25 years. 



The Zong

In 1783, a scandal in the slave trade of Great Britain rocked the economy. The court case that ensued sparked righteous outrage throughout the country. It was the beginning of the end of slavery. And the outrage that had gripped the general public had nothing to do with slavery at all. 


Wildfire At Midnight

Books with a certain patina aren’t always the worst ones to read. If you are going on a holiday to Scotland and have planned to go to Skye (or if you never considered doing that), Wildfire at Midnight by Mary Stewart should be part of the reading stuff to take along. Consider it a guidebook extraordinary when you do so. 



Thunder On The Right

Books with a certain patina aren’t always the worst ones to read. If you are going on a holiday to the French or Spanish Pyrenees Mountains (or if you never considered doing that), Thunder On The Right by Mary Stewart should be part of the reading stuff to take along. Consider it a guidebook extraordinary when you do so. 



Airs Above the Ground

Books with a certain patina aren’t always the worst ones to read. If you are going on a holiday to Austria (or if you never considered doing that), Airs Above The Ground by Mary Stewart should be part of the reading stuff to take along. Consider it a guidebook extraordinary when you do so. 



Conversations With Arthur Conan Doyle

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is remembered for his stories of Sherlock Holmes and the Lost World. A new biography tries to reconcile these seemingly highly logical writings with his unshakeable belief in fairies and the supernatural. 



The Popes

Chatto & Windus published The Popes by John Julius Norwich. The Popes: That amounts to almost 300 individuals for a single book. You might guess that the result is less than impressive. Add some personal idiosyncrasy by the author, and the end product becomes surpassingly strange. 



Young Henry: The Rise Of Henry VIII

King Henry VIII is often perceived as a monster. The heads of various wives were just a fraction of an epidemic of the people losing their heads during his reign. But to understand why he acted the way he did, you must know where he came from. A new book sheds light on the young Henry. 



Behind Closed Doors: The Tragic, Untold Story Of The Duchess Of Windsor

The Duchess of Windsor was a footnote in history. Despite that fact, publishers keep on inundating the market with books about her. This one looked interesting from the outside but proved one very, very long disappointment inside. Author Hugo Vickers produced the ultimate guide on how not to invent a conspiracy theory. 



The War That Never Was

Many people claim to have unearthed secrets from the near past. Some of those secrets were never a secret; most are nothing more than conspiracy theories. It was therefore nice to find a book about a secret war that really was kept more or less secret. At the least, for various reasons, it escaped scrutiny so far. 



Kiss Me Chudleigh: The World According To Auberon Waugh

Being offensive is an easy thing to do and something most people are quite good at; doing it intelligently, though, is a literary achievement. Auberon Waugh was a master of this craft and excelled at finding the hornet’s nest where none existed before. 



The Hemingses Of Monticello: An American Family

At a time while the first Afro-American President resides at the White House, Annette Gordon-Reed’s The Hemingses Of Monticello: An American Family is published by Norton. It’s quite a different story about the second family of a historic President. 



Brideshead Revisited

With Ben Whishaw as camp as a row of tents and the long shadows of an incomparable TV series putting the movie Brideshead Revisited into the category of been there, seen it, bought the t-shirt, it’s Brideshead Revisited, again, one might say. I revisited it for the third time, being on the wrong (or right) side of forty to remember the TV series from the eighties and to have read the book by Evelyn Waugh. 



The Ascent of Money

Niall Ferguson’s The Ascent of Money was published by Allen Lane. A Harvard historian shows the star economists how economics work and worked. His conclusions are at the same time obvious and disturbing. 





The Man With The Golden Touch: How The Bond Films Conquered The World

The Man with The Golden Touch: How the Bond Movies Conquered the World by Sinclair McKay was published by Aurum. Is it a case of just one more writer jumping on the marketing train of Quantum of Solace and the James Bond bandwagon (or would that be a bondwagon)? Not quite. 
 

Sisters Of Fortune

When three heiresses arrived in London in 1816, they took London society by storm. Their large fortunes would enable them to overcome two little drawbacks that might bar them from achieving advantageous marriages: they were American and Catholic. 



The Temptress: The Scandalous Life Of Alice, Countess De Janze

1941, Jocelyn Hay, Earl of Errol, was shot in Kenya. The death of the debauched jetsetter at the heart of Kenya’s Happy Valley set gave the tabloids a heyday and rumours were ripe. The murderer was never apprehended. A new book tries to pin down a new suspect. 



Wellington: A Journey Through My Family

Weidenfeld & Nicholson just published Wellington: A Journey Through My Family by Jane Wellesley. The Right Honourable Lady Jane is the daughter of the present 8th Duke of Wellington and takes the reader a bit haphazardly but amusingly through 200 years of family history and anecdotes. 


My Word Is My Bond

Roger Moore’s My Word Is My Bond was published by Michael O’Mara Books. I don’t know where Moore found his ghost-writer, but maybe it was his accountant. The book would qualify as an accountant’s joke anytime. 



Queens Consort

Lisa Hilton wrote Queens Consort, published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson. The medieval lives of England’s Queens are presented in a well researched book. As a bonus, it’s a darn good read as well. 



Quantum of Solace: The Complete Short Stories

Penguin Classics published Quantum of Solace: The Complete Short Stories by Ian Fleming. Does the book have any connection with the movie? And how did Fleming come by this odd title? The most intriguing thing about the last James Bond 007 movie Quantum of Solace was its title. What does it really mean? The answer to that question lies within a short story Ian Fleming wrote in 1960. It is contained in the Penguin Classics Quantum of Solace: The Complete James Bond Short Stories by Ian Fleming. 



Tony’s Ten Years: Memoirs of the Blair Administration

Adam Boulton, Sky’s former political editor, tried to write a book on the Blair (blah) years at 10 Downing Street: Tony’s Ten Years: Memoirs of the Blair Administration published by Simon & Schuster. Boulton is married to Anji Hunter, the longstanding personal assistant to the Prime Minister; with so much inside information available one would have expected more than what resulted. On the other hand, one is not surprised that the book is one sided and boring while missing out on all major points of interest. 



Etiquette Handbook

Sometimes, writers (and not exclusively second class serial writers like Dame Barbara Cartland) just go off at a tangent from what they normally write and thereby produce what can best be titled as literary fraud. Obviously, there may be extremely funny frauds. One of my favourites is Barbara Cartland’s Etiquette Handbook published by Random House.