Chris Middendorp





‘Teenagers, Alcohol and Drugs: What Your Kids Really Want and Need to Know About Alcohol and Drugs’ by Paul Dillon

Paul Dillon’s calm guide to adolescent drug and alcohol use is a handy anodyne for all those parents who fear they will overheat like the reactor core at Chernobyl if they ever find a bag of pills in 16-year-old Sebastian’s sock drawer. Dillon is …


‘The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty’ by Peter Singer

Peter Singer is a public intellectual par excellence; he takes complex philosophical notions and relates them directly to the general reader without a hint of loftiness or superiority. The Life You Can Save is classic Singer: a straightforward …


‘The Pages’ by Murray Bail

The Pages, Murray Bail's latest novel and his first in a decade, is an intermittently engaging satire on the conceits of philosophy and the extremes to which some people will go to gain clarity. At the heart of this convoluted tale is Wesley Antill, an …


‘Nobel Lecture: From the Literature Laureates, 1986 to 2005’

The uncredited introduction to this anthology somewhat meekly proposes that we shouldn't take high honours in literature too seriously. Reminding us of the sublime authors who were not awarded the Nobel - Tolstoy, James, Conrad, Woolf, Nabokov, Greene, …


‘North Face of Soho: Unreliable Memoirs Volume IV’ by Clive James

Near the conclusion of the third volume of his memoirs, May Week Was in June, Clive James argued memorably that constructing a decent sentence in English is "at the foundation of our democracy". Given this, James's linguistic acuity as a poet, essayist, …