All items: George Eliot

Each time I return to Middlemarch l find it has changed; on first reading it was the story of Dorothea, nowadays she has to share my interest with less glamorous characters.
As darkness fell on each painful night, I reconstructed the book from memory, trying to get a little further each time before looking back at the text. Instead of dwelling on the life I couldn't live I retold this story.

Rukhsana Ahmad speaks with John Siddique about her peripatetic childhood in Pakistan, how her concern for other people motivates her to keep writing across years and genres, and how she’s avoided the constraints of the ‘post-colonial’.

At school I used to swallow a book in the lunch hour, and now I can do two in that same time. It doesn't feel good. I race through them, unable to slow my reading speed down.
Most of the Victorians I loved have lost their shine, too, for me, except George Eliot; her luminous sense of justice and vision distinguish her. However, recently Hilary Mantel has begun to supplant her.

Joanne Limburg and our host Julia Copus discuss two classic poems by Mathilde Blind, a once-celebrated, now neglected poet, scholar and intellectual, in another instalment of our special ‘Poetry Break’ series.

Material possessions fail to quell his self-loathing or heal, or avert, the divisions and disasters abundant in his world; reading the book as a student in Thatcher's London it subtly but perfectly reflected the culture around me.
Alice turned me into an addict. I became an avid reader, always in search of fantasies; science fiction, adventure, mysteries and later detective fiction and romances, in both English and Urdu, fed my insatiable thirst.
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