They just don’t make them like they used to. Men, I mean – those testosterone-charged seekers of danger, whose only way to feel good is to feel afraid. Then along comes Richard Grant, and the tradition of the male writer who seeks to feel alive by courting death is revived. Grant says he is ‘prepared to stake my personal safety’ for ‘the heightened awareness, the melting away of boredom and the thrill of the unfamiliar that comes with going to dangerous places where I don’t belong’.
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'Only in Britain, perhaps, could spy chiefs – conventionally viewed as masters of subterfuge – be so highly regarded as ethical guides.'
In this month's Bookends, @AdamCSDouglas looks at the curious life of Henry Labouchere: a friend of Bram Stoker, 'loose cannon', and architect of the law that outlawed homosexual activity in Britain.
'We have all twenty-nine of her Barsetshire novels, and whenever a certain longing reaches critical mass we read all twenty-nine again, straight through.'
Patricia T O'Conner on her love for Angela Thirkell. (£)