Ten Stories About Smoking by Stuart Evers

 As the title of the collection suggests, cigarettes play their part in every story: the smell of them, the act of smoking, its consequences and so on. From London to Las Vegas via New York and Reno, Stuart Evers’ brief narratives are clipped and efficient: an obvious reference point is Raymond Carver, and Carver himself even pops in to…

Dubliners by James Joyce

 High up on the reading list* sent to me by the kindly grandees at the University of Birmingham’s English department in the summer of 1986, Dubliners has had to wait until summer 2013 to make the jump from shelf to bedside. It seems the spur of a trip to James Joyce’s homeland, three decades later, was needed to…