Archive | November, 2010

Tolstoy’s bedtime story

I was in Oxford on Friday to interview Rosamund Bartlett about her recent Tolstoy biography, which coincides with the great man’s death a century ago on 20 November 1910. The interview will appear shortly on the Blackwell Online website, but in the meantime, here is Rosamund reading a short extract from the book itself, in […]

Continue Reading · 29 November 2010 · biography and memoir, literature, podcasts

45. Bloody borderlands

Amexica is the name journalist Ed Vulliamy has coined for the 2,000-mile-long borderland between the US and Mexico. It’s a land that has fascinated him for the past thirty years – “repelled and compelled”, as he puts it in the interview. “Charismatic,complex, irresistible” is how he describes it in his new book, Amexica, which he […]

Continue Reading · 19 November 2010 · history and politics, podcasts, true crime

Exploring word histories

Elizabeth Knowles is a historical lexicographer, which means that she researches the histories of words – how did they come to mean what they mean today and what journeys have they taken to arrive at these meanings? Elizabeth firmly believes that “there is no such thing as a dull word” and to prove it has […]

Continue Reading · 18 November 2010 · language, podcasts

The fine art of political phrase-making

Antony Jay’s Oxford Dictionary of Political Quotations – entitled Lend Me Your Ears – is now in its fourth edition. To mark its publication, I went to interview Antony – perhaps best known as the co-author of the “Yes, Minister” series – at his home in Somerset. You can hear the whole interview by clicking […]

Continue Reading · 17 November 2010 · history and politics, humour, podcasts