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Plagues, wars and life at Foxton

We had a great blowing storm in Portland and a fine day for curling up with a book. In case I was wondering what to read, Penelope Lively had some engaging suggestions - Elizabeth Bowen's Anglo-Irish Last September, set during the Irish War of Independence; the diaries of Samuel Pepys, which include the restoration of Parliament, 'labyrinthine' politics and the Great Plague; Rowland Parker's The Common Stream, which illuminates 2,000 years of life in Foxton; and James Shapiro's Year in the Life of William Shakespeare. The turbulent and inspiring year was 1599.

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