Newsletter 177 – May 2012


Number 177 – May 2012 – ISSN 1470-1863

Arts, Culture, and Technology as seen from
the digital hub of Media city Manchester UK

Summer reading recommendations. Start here!
Specially easy Pub Quiz issue – by demand.


‘The Great Good Place’ – A writer feels burdened
by the pressures of success, until a young man
turns up to put his mind at rest.

Red button The Great Good Place

‘The Tone of Time’ – Two women have both been
involved with a ‘dangerous’ man. When one of them
commissions his portrait and the other paints it,
trouble ensues,

Red button The Tone of Time

‘The Tree of Knowledge’ – When an untalented sculptor
tries to block his own son’s artistic aspirations,
family relations become strained – but the truth will out

Red button The Tree of Knowledge

0— Pub Quiz Question #01

What is the capital of Albania?


If you are at all interested in the various
theories of how people learn, have a look at
this excellent series written by Donald Clark.

He’s particularly good at exposing bogus fads,
such as Neuro Linguistic Programming, whose
founder I was interested to learn was a cocaine
addict and suspected murderer.

Red button Donald Clark – Plan B

0— Pub Quiz Question #02

How many minutes in half a day?


‘The Son’s Veto’ – is an amazingly sad tale
of a young widow clinging to a second chance at
happiness. She is refused permission to marry
for the second time because of her snobbish son.

Red button The Son’s Veto

‘An Imaginative Woman’ – When romantic and
poetically-inclined Ella finds she is staying
in the house of a real Romantic poet, she is
carried away with a desire to meet him.

The result is the birth of a child – but whose?

Red button An Imaginative Woman

0— Pub Quiz Question #03

What is the chemical symbol for silver?


The New Yorker has a witty and sophisticated
staff writer called Mary Norris.

She writes on some of the more obscure but
interesting topics that feature in the daily
lives of writers.

This is her take on the famous Blackwing pencil.

Red button The Blackwing Pencil

0— Pub Quiz Question #04

Which trilogy was written by Olivia Manning?

0— FATHER AND SON – a 19C classic

This is a profoundly sad book which details the
struggle between religious belief and scientific
rationalism in the middle of the nineteenth century.

It has the appearance of an autobiography, but
author Edmund Gosse stresses more than once that
it’s a ‘study of two temperaments’, by which he
means the relationship between him and his father,
Philip Gosse.

It’s sad because his story details the terrible
struggle between two people who obviously love
each other dearly, but in ways which are
completely different and even antagonistic.

Red button Father and Son

0— Pub Quiz Question #05

How did Cecilia Bartoli find fame?


‘A Hunger Artist and Other Stories’ – If you want
a gentle introduction to the work of Franz Kafka,
try this. It includes complete stories, fragments,
and his semi-philosophic aphorisms.

Red button A Hunger Artist

‘The Man Who Disappeared’ – This isn’t a story, but
an unfinished novel. It’s at times quite a funny
tale of a young lad who has been expelled from
Europe for s.e.x.u.a.l misdemeanours.

He’s sent to America to find his own way, and
manages to invert the normal cliche of rags to
riches, by progressing from luxury and affluence
to working like a slave for two crooks and a

Red button The Man Who Disappeared

0— Pub Quiz Question #06

How many time zones does Canada have?

0— GREAT MODERN NOVEL – Virginia Woolf

‘Jacob’s Room’ – This was the novel that set
Virginia Woolf free to develop her literary
style in the direction she wanted it to go.
That’s because she wrote and published the
book herself.

It’s the story of a young man growing up in
a normal middle class family. He goes on to
university, makes friends, travels abroad,
and then is suddenly killed in the first
world war.

What makes it specially interesting is the
way the story is told – flitting from the
consciousness of one character to another.

Well worth the effort.

Red button Jacob’s Room

0— Pub Quiz Question #07

Who was the last viceroy of India?

0— GREAT MEMOIRS – Elias Canetti

‘The Tongue Set Free’ is the first volume of
the autobiography of Nobel prizewinner and
writer in German, Elias Canetti.

He had an extraordinary early life – born in
Bulgaria, lived in Manchester, moved to Vienna,
and then to Zurich.

The two themes running through this volume are his
affinity with languages and his Oedipal relationship
with his mother, who seems at times more interesting
than he is.

Red button The Tongue Set Free

0— Pub Quiz Question #08

What is a young badger called?


‘The Diaresis’ – is another of Mary Norris’s
witty and entertaining essays from the New Yorker.

She explores the options for correctly showing
in print terms such as co-operate and re-elect.

Red button The Diaresis

0— Pub Quiz Question #09

What is the real name of John Le Carre?

0— COMING SOON – new PDF eBooks

Just in case you are new here, we have a range
of eBooks to help people with writing skills.

But right now they are being upgraded to
super-dooper, custom designed and very stylish
PDFs, by a professional graphic designer.

Keep your eye on this page for details:

Red button New PDF eBooks

0— Pub Quiz Question #10

Which newspaper sent Stanley to find Livingstone?


Your answer to pub quiz question about England’s
oldest daily newspaper is arguably wrong:

The London Gazette was first published in 1665
(under the title Oxford Gazette).

It has 5 issues per week, so qualifies as a
daily. It all depends of course on whether it
can be defined as a newspaper —

Personally I think it can be.

0— Pub quiz – ANSWERS

#01. What is the capital of Albania?
ANSWER: Tirana

#02 How many minutes in half a day?

#03 What is the chemical symbol for silver?

#04 Which trilogy was written by Olivia Manning?
ANSWER: The Balkan Trilogy

#05 How did Cecilia Bartoli find fame?
ANSWER: As an opera singer

#06 How many time zones does Canada have?

#07 Who was the last viceroy of India?
ANSWER: Lord Mountbatten

#08 What is a young badger called?

#09 What is the real name of John Le Carre?
ANSWER: David Cornwell

#10 Which newspaper sent Stanley to find Livingstone?
ANSWER: New York Herald

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