Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Boiled potatoes with the Popes

I've spent most of the week in Provence. Rain. More rain in one day than in the English famine year of 1596. I sheltered, dripping, in a cafe beside the Pope's Palace at Avignon and ate boiled potatoes in a tourist's aoili, as bland as washbrew porage. And I devoured Religio Medici on my e-book reader. Browne's spry memento mori added an ironic gloss to that great sarcophagus of true misery towering above me, the fortress founded by four schismatic Popes in the 14th century.

I love my Sony ebook reader. It holds more than 1200 titles and academic papers. Given a few memory cards, I could carry half the Bodleian library in my pocket. And it's no bigger than a sandwich (English style). That's true wisdom. I commend it to the Popes.


  1. Surely not? Boiled potatoes in Avignon?

  2. The joy of e-books is that you can get all kinda stuff free off Gutenberg, etc. No need to buy Don Quixote. What a saving!

  3. You may enjoy an even greater saving by not obtaining Don Quixote. Frankly, it's much over-rated, although it makes an excellent doorstop. Far better to read Eco's The Name of the Rose. You can tear out every alternate chapter and miss nothing. Soak the pages thus extracted in a light cooking oil and they make a splendid firestarter for the incinerator in which you can then burn Don Quixote.


Read 'The Apothecary's Tales' now

at Smashwords.com: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/2958

Many have proposed that The Apothecary's Tales is a detective novel in the genre of historical fiction or fictive history set in the Jacobean and Elizabethan era called the Jacobethan (or the age of Shakespeare). Certainly, its tone of mystery, suspense, humour, comedy and ribald sex might suggest that. However, the mystery, detective and thriller elements merely support its presentation as an historical novel; they do not invaidate the possibility that it is a true account originally written in the language of Shakespeare and revised for the reader of modern historical novels.