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Love, Sex, Death, and Words: Surprising Tales from a Year in Literature

3.52 of 5 stars 3.52  ·  rating details  ·  63 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Love, sex, death, boredom, ecstasy, existential angst, political upheaval - the history of literature offers a rich and varied exploration of the human condition across the centuries. In this absorbing companion to literature's rich past, arranged by days of the year, acclaimed critics and friends Stephen Fender and John Sutherland turn up the most inspiring, enlightening, ...more
Hardcover, 496 pages
Published October 1st 2010 by Icon Books (first published 2010)
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Quite possibly this was nothing more than a potboiler. But since we’re talking about John Sutherland here, even a potboiler by him can prove perfectly enjoyable. The idea behind this book is to create a sort of literary calendar, an almanac if you like, with a bit of bookish trivia, a mini essay for each day of the year.

The selection is completely arbitrary and doesn’t even pretend to be anything else and as expected it’s a mixed bag. Some entries are fascinating, some trivial but funny, some ba
M.G. Mason
This is an interesting and unique book that works on a simple premise. Bite sized essays, 366 of so one for each day of the year, that discusses a different aspect every day. It works on a “On this day in year…” and discusses an important or not so important yet otherwise interesting event that happened on that day.

From 1st January chronicling the complications of the copyright of Peter Pan, Alexandre Dumas duel on the 5th January, a vignette of why Johannes Gutenberg is the true villain of The
This is a varied and fascinating selection of anecdotes, one for every day of the year. Some are historical, many literary, some biographical, some political. I really enjoyed the articles, and finding out the links between them. I read this book on my Kindle, just dipping into it when I wanted to read for a few minutes (I finished it today in the dentist's waiting room). It is an ideal book for this.
This is such an enjoyable book to read all year long. There is an entry for each day of the year - unspecified year so it can started on any date and then read for the year. I began it last September and finished it a year later reading one entry a day, and I looked forward to it each morning. Each entry is connected to literature in one way or another. I bought 10 copies last Christmas for gifts to my book loving friends. I have been rereading entries and will probably continue to do so. FUN fa ...more
The authors have put together a literary themed 'On this day'. It is fair to say that some days they could not find anything of great significance, so the book is quite patchy.
The pieces are short, although several include links to books or websites if we want more information. John Sutherland can be delightfully pithy.
I enjoyed it on the whole and it is an interesting idea and book, even though the content is not all interesting. I have a few quibbles with the book: Dylan Thomas did not 'fatall
Fazackerly Toast
far too many long long boring entries about utterly insignificant US writers or events, many with only a tangential relevance to literature, repetitious and lazy.
Read this over the past year, a day at a time on the relevant date. It was fun to do it this way and the book, being so densely packed with interesting facts, would have swamped me if I had tried to read it all in one go. Fascinating, informative and a must read for bibliophiles.
Didn't find much of this very interesting, I'm afraid. May pick it up again one day and give it another go. Nice idea but perhaps this book stretches the concept a bit further than the quality of the content merits.
Loved the idea of this book, but so many of the dates you could tell the authors were really reaching to find something of note.
Madhav Nair
You can't really finish reading this book. I dip into it from time to time, find nuggets of trivia, digest and close.
A bit bitty and repetitive at times, this book is full of witty and interesting literary fact and opinion.
Tierney Green
Nice to dip in and out of, lovely little stories and an interesting mix.
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John Andrew Sutherland is an English lecturer, emeritus professor, newspaper columnist and author.

Now Emeritus Lord Northcliffe Professor of Modern English Literature at University College London, John Sutherland began his academic career after graduating from the University of Leicester as an assistant lecturer in Edinburgh in 1964. He specialises in Victorian fiction, 20th century literature, an
More about John Sutherland...
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