Robert Tanitch’s Round-up of Books No 4 (2020)
A SHAKESPEARE MOTLEY (Thames & Hudson) is an illustrated assortment taken from the archives of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. A cute, charming and succinct little book, full of tantalising titbits of information about the world Shakespeare knew and imagined. Did you know school began at 6.00am and that football was banned in his lifetime?
LET’S TALK, How English Conversation Works by David Crystal (Oxford University Press). Conversation is the most delightful activity of our lives. Crystal explores the factors that motivate so many different kinds of talk. He reveals the rules we use unconsciously even in the most routine exchanges every day. Absolutely fascinating.
THE LANGUAGE LOVER’S PUZZLE BOOK by Alex Bellos (Guardian Faber). How good are you at deciphering codes and solving riddles? Celebrate the rich diversity of human language and culture. Tease your brain. Work it out for yourself. Crack conundrums from across the world. Have a lot of fun.
REALITY and OTHER STORIES by John Lanchester (Faber). If you like ghost stories and are looking for some really good ones, try these, perfect for the technological age
THE WORLD ACCORDING TO COCO (Thames & Hudson). Fashion designer Coco Chanel (1883-1976) gave women’s bodies back their freedom. Her clothes, elegant and chic, were famed for their simplicity. The essence is luxury and refinement. Style is always first and foremost. Take the Little Black Dress. Before Chanel nobody dared to wear black. Her bons mots are dry and pithy
ROYAL OPERA HOUSE (Thames & Hudson). A pocket size photo book. Harry Cory Wright photographs every aspect of ROH, auditorium, front of house and backstage. A nice little souvenir.
POP-UP PEEKABOO! PENGUIN (Dorling Kindersley). If you are looking for a lovely book for a 5-year-old and under, look no further. Peek under the flaps and watch the Antarctic animals pop up from the page. The pop-ups promote memory, imagination and parent-child interaction.