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Alex H (London)

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The Train in Spain
The Train in Spain
by Christopher Howse
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.88

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book, 10 Nov. 2013
This review is from: The Train in Spain (Hardcover)
Christopher Howse's writing is in a league of its own - erudite, expansive, generous, witty. I'm an avid reader of all his Telegraph columns, whether the Sacred Mysteries series or his sideways takes on modern mores and language. It's wonderful to see him given the space to stretch his pen. This is an excellent travel companion to places both familiar and unknown.

A Pilgrim in Spain
A Pilgrim in Spain
by Christopher Howse
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.99

32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 21 Jun. 2011
This review is from: A Pilgrim in Spain (Hardcover)
This is a wonderful book, full of learning, subtle wit and remarkable insight. Howse's voice will be familiar to readers of his Sacred Mysteries column in Saturday's Telegraph. Here it is writ large, allowed to roam across north-western and central Spain. Some places were familiar to me, many not. All taught me - and, it would seem, Howse, something. "Pilgrimage," he writes, "is the expectation of a particular grace to be found in the journey." This is an armchair journey well worth making.

The Meaning of Sport
The Meaning of Sport
by Simon Barnes
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Oh dear, 20 Feb. 2008
This review is from: The Meaning of Sport (Paperback)
Like another reviewer, I often buy The Times for the sole purpose of reading Simon Barnes. I have always defended him sub-consciously whenever he makes his regular appearances in Private Eye's Pseuds Corner. But this book really is laughably self-indulgent.

It's not so much the regular name-dropping of Proust, Joyce etc. regardless of the authors' relevance to the topic in hand, nor the torturous, repetitive, paradoxical paragraphs about "will" and "greatness". What really drove me to despair is the author's apparent belief that his job - the mundane technicalities as well as the pseudo-philosophical babbling about being a "teller of tales" - is as fascinating as the stars he covers.

"Destiny," he declares on page 138, apparently without irony, when he is given a job as a sportswriter on the Surrey Mirror. I finally gave up two pages later when he started plugging his earlier books while regretting, "I have not established myself as a novelist".

A great shame. A collection of his Times' columns would have been altogether more readable.

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