Lenin on the Train by Catherine Merridale - it actually covers rather more than just the journey, and she has clearly read lots of the original sources; I'm finding it fascinating...
The works of Geronimo Stilton, Roald Dahl and Anthony Horowitz come highly recommended.
Hadrian and A Quest For Corvo are both remarkable books. If you are interested in mad Englishmen consider The Professor And The Madman, regarding the making of the Oxford English Dictionary.I'm trying to remember how I became interested in Symons, I think there was a Sorabji connection.
If you are fascinated by mad Englishmen of the period you might do worse than to investigate the composer Kaikhosru Sorabji, from Bombay by way of Ilford. The lack of any particular enthusiasm for music is in no sense whatever a barrier to an appreciation of his work and indeed it can certainly be argued that listening to it is not its best use, though it has always exercised upon me an unhealthy fascination.
Finished a lockdown project a couple of days ago - War and Peace. It took four months but then again I have two small kids, so it’s not too bad going. I discovered at the end that there was a summary of every chapter that was only twenty pages long - think of the time I could have saved!
I enjoyed it. Definitely prefer Leo when he’s capturing the feel of a 19th century military battle over his pontificating about history and historiography though.
Which translation did you read? The translators mean a lot! I like it so much I've read it twice. Once in Finnish in a translation by Esa Adrian whose translations from Russian are magic; and once in English by Pevear & Volokhonsky. P&V do pretty good translations of the major Russian classics IMO but I do find myself going back to Adrian again and again. A pity most on this forum can't enjoy those!
I have read most of them. At his peak he is a deeply insightful observer and commentator on life. Few writers present irony as well as Roth does. His writing is direct, honest and funny.Talking of not finishing books, has anyone finished one by Philip Roth? I've read a few - The Human Stain, American Pastoral and something else - and I couldn't finish them. I know someone who once described reading a Roth novel as 'like having someone sitting on your face and refusing to get off'. I think it sums him up fairly well.