ROBERT TANITCH’S ROUND-UP OF BOOKS No 13
THE GREATEST BOOKS YOU’LL NEVER READ (Cassell Illustrated £20) is a collection of literature’s lost and unfinished masterpieces. This is a fascinating book and especially for all those who love books. Among the 66 authors to cruelly whet the appetite are works Virgil, Chaucer, Spenser, Coleridge, Keats, Byron, Mark, Poe, Wordsworth, Balzac, Hardy, Dickens, Proust, Hemingway, Kafka, Greene, Fitzgerald, Updike, Plath, Capote. The illustrations are always well chosen.
WORD PLAY by Gyles Brandreth (Coronet (£14.99) is a cornucopia of puns, anagrams and other curiosities of the English Language. It’s a jolly pool to dip into and come up with a lot of goodies: epitaphs, Goldwynisms (“Anybody who goes to see a psychiatrist ought to have his head examined”), texts, repartee, mixed metaphors (“When you open that Pandora’s box you will find it full of Trojan horses”), newspaper mistakes, etc, etc. There are lots of laughs.
THE WIT AND WISDOM of DOWNTON ABBEY by Jessica Fellowes (Headline £12.99). Most people watching the series just wait for the next put-down by Maggie Smith. The script is not witty and wise in the way Oscar Wilde and Mark Twain are wise and witty. The book is just a lot of quotes from the series and it might be useful as a basis for a quiz for the die-hard fans as to who said what.