Subscribe to the Oldie and get a free cartoon book


I’m self-isolating – and self-improving

Regulars |

Tolstoy's War and Peace is on Gyles' reading list

Confined at home, I’m reading the classics I should’ve read years ago, says Gyles Brandreth

Liking to look on the bright side of things, I’m hoping it could be that this coronavirus pandemic works out rather well in the end. That’s if you survive, of course. And even the gloomiest projections suggest that most of us will. I once asked the great Dr Anthony Clare (he of the radio programme In the Psychiatrist’s Chair) why it was that my father, and others of my parents’ generation, often spoke about the Second World War as the happiest time of their lives. At home, bombs were falling. At the front, those who were in the forces, like my dad, were risking their lives on a daily basis. ‘That’s easy to explain,’ said Dr Clare. ‘During the war there was a sense of common purpose – that makes people happy. And the servicemen who were putting their lives on the line were also being tested by the war...

I’m afraid this isn’t one of our six free articles available in full, which are set out in the first two rows of the ‘Magazine’ page.
Please click here to find them.

To buy a digital version of this issue for just £1.99, click here