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Reflections of a working writer and reader



Presque vu XXXXIV

Robert Fisk, in The Independent, is seduced by the power of historic books in a Beirut bookshop:

(Habib, the bookseller, walks) over to me with a massive volume, printed in 1890 and entitled Architectural Studies in Italy, number 49 out of only 150 copies, authored by William J Anderson, president of the Glasgow Architectural Association. “The Photo-Mechanical-Process and the printing are by Messrs McLure and Macdonald & Co Glasgow,” the reader is solemnly informed, and by God, they knew how to print. Not in the glossiest of architectural volumes have I seen such fine and detailed drawings. “How much do you think it’s worth?” Habib asks me quietly. I express my total ignorance. “Sometimes I sell a book and I regret selling it,” he says mysteriously. “The person who loves a book – I sometimes sell it to him at half price. If I don’t like him, I don’t sell it to him for any price.”


My piece on Huckleberry Finn appears on Norman Geras‘ blog.


Dick Jones‘ Patteran Pages have a sneak preview of questions from 16+ Mathematics examination papers.

Sample from the one for State Schools: Simon has 0.5 kilos of cocaine. If he sells an 8 ball to Matt for 300 quid and 90 grams to Ollie for 90 quid a gram, what is the street value of the rest of his hold?

Sample from the one for Private Schools: Fiona’s personal shopper decides to substitute generic and own-brand products for the designer goods favoured by her employer. In the course of a month she saves the price of a return ticket to Fiji and Fiona doesn’t even notice the difference. Is she thick or what?

The others are even better. Go see.

One Response to “Presque vu XXXXIV”

  1. c.mcgurk says:

    Interested to read the extract from Robert Fisk as I have recently come into possession of a copy of Architectural Studies in Italy (no.72).

    It is a thing of rare beauty.