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FILM: ‘The Party’

The Oldie

As Janet has just been promoted to a ministerial position in the shadow cabinet, it is time to celebrate. At the party, with a few close friends present, her husband, Bill, is responsible for some bewildering revelations that take everyone by surprise. A comedy of tragic proportions.

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‘Treason’s Spring’ by Robert Wilton

The Oldie

The Oldie’s Novel of the Month for December 2017 takes us back to 1792 and the time when the guillotines were well-oiled in the French Revolution. A harmless stranger arrives in Paris to meet a missing man, only to find himself in the middle of numerous conspiracies and needing to survive.

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‘On Form’ by Mike Brearley

The Oldie

‘The Times Sports Book of the Year’ for 2017 looks into exactly what being ‘on form’ means, and whether it is in the lap of the gods or up to you. Former England cricket captain Brearley refers to his own experience, as well as to many different disciplines, including finance, teaching and music.

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‘The Dawn Watch: Joseph Conrad in a Global World’ by Maya Jasanoff

The Oldie

Joseph Conrad, of Heart of Darkness fame, was an immigrant, and his books voice the issues that gripped the world at the start of the 20th century: migration, and tensions between global capitalism and nationalism. A strong biography from one of the best historians writing today.

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‘Beautiful Animals’ by Lawrence Osborne

The Oldie

Naomi and Sam are holidaying with their parents when they come across a man washed up on a lonely beach. Faoud, they assume, is a Syrian refugee. But the best intentions can be deadly, and disaster ensues. This is less about Faoud, but more about the troubled lives of Naomi and Sam. 

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‘Friend of My Youth’ by Amit Chaudhuri

The Oldie

This part-novel and part-manifesto examines the failures of fiction to account for the realities of memory as Amit Chaudhuri visits Mumbai, remembering his friend Ramu, a heroin addict recovering in rehab.

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‘Midwinter Break’ by Bernard MacLaverty

The Oldie

MacLaverty’s latest novel sees him send a couple, with more than forty years of marriage behind them, go on a short holiday to Amsterdam. An enthralling though tragic tale of how the marriage is starting to collapse, this is a poignant read for people of all ages.

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‘Munich’ by Robert Harris

The Oldie

According to some reviewers, Harris’s research is so impeccable that he could have cut the spy stuff and published this as a history book. His latest novel returns to the location of his first as he fictionalises Neville Chamberlain visiting Hitler in 1938 and is powerfully sympathetic.

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‘Meet Me in the Bathroom: Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City 2001-2011’ by Lizzy Goodman

The Oldie

Goodman believes the decade following 9/11 marked the resurgence of punk-inspired guitar rock, headed predominantly by the Strokes. With more than 160 original interviews, this is an entertaining and exhilarating read that beautifully captures the era.

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‘Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down: Rock ‘n’ Roll War Stories’ by Allan Jones

The Oldie

This collection of 15 years’ worth of Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before columns from the music magazine Uncut is a very funny read. Including encounters with some of rock’s most iconic stars, this book traces the backstage brawls and superstar punch-ups that make the rock genre unique.

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‘In Search of the Lost Chord: 1967 and the Hippie Idea’ by Danny Goldberg

The Oldie

Combining his personal memories with a broader account of the time and what it meant, Goldberg looks beyond the Summer of Love and into deeper connotations, such as how the movement energised other more significant causes such as civil rights, feminism and the anti-war movement.

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‘The House of Fiction: From Pemberley to Brideshead, Great British Houses in Literature Life’ by Phyllis Richardson

The Oldie

Richardson goes into unprecedented detail on an essential element of literature that is often overlooked: the houses around which stories are told. Richardson says that ‘the house commanding the centre of a story exerts a power over the characters’.

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‘Joyce in Court’ by Adrian Hardiman

The Oldie

As the author announces, James Joyce had ‘a lifelong preoccupation with guilt, innocence, proof, framings and officials who were unscrupulous in the service of the Crown’. Hardiman explores Joyce’s fascination with law that is much reflected in his great works, Ulysses and Finnegans Wake.

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‘Land of Plenty: A Journey Through the Fields and Foods of Modern Britain’ by Charlie Pye-Smith

The Oldie

As the amount of food produced in the British Isles that we eat continues to drop, despite our population rising, Pye-Smith makes a plea for our shrinking farms and agriculture industry to be replenished. The story he tells is hopeful; we can make a better, cleaner job of producing the food we need.

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‘Long Road from Jarrow: A journey through Britain then and now’ by Stuart Maconie

The Oldie

In 1936, unemployment in the Tyneside town of Jarrow had risen to 80 per cent after the shipyard was closed. This travelogue and social commentary tracks their 300-mile march to London and looks at just how much England has changed since then.

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‘The Poetry Pharmacy: Tried-and-True Prescriptions for the Heart, Mind and Soul’ by William Sieghart

The Oldie

This anthology of poetry may do more for you than any prescription from your GP. With meditations on all situations – loneliness, bereavement, depression and so many more – this pocket-sized collection will be there for you when you need it most, at any time, any age, and any situation.

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‘Animals Strike Curious Poses’ by Elena Passarello

Evans

Each piece in this collection of 16 essays investigates a different famous animal named and immortalised by humans. Ranging from Yuka, the 39,000-year-old mummified mammoth, to Jumbo the elephant, these are witty, playful and provocative essays traversing history.

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London: Villa di Geggiano, Chiswick

The Oldie

A taste of Tuscany comes to Chiswick. Many of the ingredients are imported from trusted farms and providers back home in Italy. A stunning façade and intimate interior make this an enjoyable place to be – before you have even tasted the food. 

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The SipCaddy

The Oldie

Drinking and bath time are no longer mutually exclusive. Why not enjoy both at the same time with this can, glass or wine glass holder?

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‘Absence’ by Sarah Wiseman

The Oldie

The ingredients of The Oldie’s Novel of the Month in January 2018 are not dissimilar from those of a gothic horror. Wiseman’s chilling family tale tells of a house in ruins, with each sibling and parent becoming more and more withdrawn from each other, with disastrous consequences.   

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‘Darling Pol: Letters of Mary Wesley and Eric Siepmann 1944-1967’ by Patrick Marnham

The Oldie

English novelist Wesley (1912-2002) enjoyed lively and intimate correspondence with her second husband, Eric Siepmann. Marnham suggests that it was through these letters that Wesley found her voice as a writer in the 1970s, a decade after the death of her beloved.

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‘Travels in a Dervish Cloak’ by Isambard Wilkinson

The Oldie

Inspired by his grandmother’s Indian heritage, and his annual visits to India and Pakistan, Wilkinson became particularly intrigued by the latter. He seeks the essence of the land behind the headlines of religious turmoil and unsafe streets.

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‘Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder’ by Caroline Fraser

The Oldie

Readers of ‘Little House’ books may believe they know Laura Ingalls Wilder; however, they are mistaken. With access to unpublished manuscripts, letters and diaries, Fraser fills in the numerous gaps in Wilder’s life story, offering a comprehensive biography uncovering the story behind the stories.

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America: Washington DC

The Oldie

The Washington Monument, Capitol Hill, the Lincoln Memorial and the White House provide some of the iconic sights in America. What’s more, the international space and spy museums gives an entertaining look at the Cold War.

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Spain: Barcelona

The Oldie

The Catalan capital offers all any culture-seeker could want. The amazing, albeit still unfinished Sagrada Familia cathedral dominates the skyline, while the Parc Guell offers another way to celebrate Gaudi. There are also Civil War tunnels, an Olympic Park and Europe’s largest stadium.    

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