Eugene Vodolazkin’s Laurus is a remarkable novel, partly because it challenges our notions of what the 21st-century novel should be.
In this blog I look at both old and new books, at fiction and non-fiction, at literature written for adults and for children. I write about my books and the ideas that inspired them; I write about the books of others and the ideas that inspired them; I have a reading list to work throughContinue reading “Book Reviews and More”
In the introduction to her translation of Bede’s The Reckoning of Time, Faith Wallis has a fascinating aside about education in Anglo-Saxon England:
While it is true that some great books have been written in the 21st century, Joseph Joubert was also absolutely right to argue that…
While Joseph Joubert was absolutely right to argue that the trouble with new books is that they prevent us from reading the old ones, it is also true that some great books have been written in the 21st century. Here are seven which are well worth reading:
History is never as straightforward as we might like it to be. Take something as straightforward as the dates of the First World War: 1914-1918. We all know that. Except that the peace treaties that officially ended the war were signed in 1919. And labourers continued to die while doing battlefield clearance until 1920.
160 of the 168 headstones at the St Etienne-au-Mont mark the graves of members of the Chinese Labour Corps. So what about the other eight?
On just about the only dreary day we had last summer, I visited a small war cemetery in the village of St Etienne-au-Mont, just outside Boulogne-sur-Mer. Of the 168 graves there, 160 mark the last resting places of members of the Chinese Labour Corps.
My article for the Catholic Herald on the Chinese Labour Corps and the Chinese Prime Minister who became a Benedictine monk is now available online.
Researching the Chinese Labour Corps during World War I is bound to force you outside narrow national boundaries.
Why did so many of the Chinese Labourers buried at Noyelles die after November 11th 1918? One simple reason was that many of them were given the job of battleground clearance. Such an innocuous sounding task: such a deadly reality.
The gravestones in my previous post can all found at the remarkable Chinese cemetery at Noyelles-sur-Mer at the mouth of the River Somme. Why here? Because Noyelles was the base of the Chinese Labour Corps during World War I. Here are some more photos of the cemetery and its fine Chinese arch.
Spare a thought for this member of the Chinese Labour Corps who died on Armistice Day, November 11th 2018. How unlucky can you get?