Charles Foster: Author

  • Human dignity in Howard Jacobson’s ‘J: A Novel’

    ‘J’ is not the title of this novel. The title is ‘J’ with two lines through it, to denote the two fingers that one of the central characters, Kevern Cohen, puts neurotically to his lips whenever he utters the letter ‘J’. For this is a novel about things that are not uttered, and the consequences…

  • Notebooks

    On the shelves in my study there are long rows of small, hard-backed notebooks. Most of them are blue or black, with a red fabric spine. On the spine there are usually some dates, and often some place names: Beirut: 8-9/1993; Danakil: 4/2002; Misc North Africa 4-6/2007; Spitsbergen and North Pole: 2004; Peloponnese, 9/1997. Occasionally…

  • Travelling with camels: a practical guide

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  • Who were the Israelites?

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  • A Dyslexic boy in a Trojan horse

    ‘Come in’, said the Well Known Educational Psychologist. We did. ‘Please sit down’, she said, and we did. She didn’t waste time, and quite right too. We wanted to know. ‘Tom and I have had a very interesting afternoon.’ That sounded bad. ‘He’s a very able child indeed’. That sounded worse, because it came with…

  • In the Hot Unconscious

    Charles Foster’s latest book, ‘In the Hot Unconscious: An Indian Journey’, has just been published. It’s about how myths are made and perceived, and about the conversation that has to happen, and usually doesn’t, between the mystical traditions of East and West, and between the two sides of our own heads. What critics are saying:…

  • My son’s dyslexic, and I’m glad

    My son is dyslexic, and I’m glad. Most people think that I am deranged or callous. But I have two related reasons, both of which seem to me to be good. The first is that his dyslexia is an inextricable part of him. I can’t say: ‘This is the pathological bit, which I resent’, as…

  • Human enhancement: A symposium

    23 November 2011: 6-8 pm: E.P Abraham Lecture Theatre, Green Templeton College, Oxford. Humans have always sought to enhance themselves and their performance. Examples include education, the drinking of coffee, and the choice of reproductive partners whose genes are perceived to be desirable. But now, and increasingly, technology allows for enhancement of a kind and…

  • Ten reasons to drink real ale

    Britain is rediscovering, just in time, that some good things are not mass-produced, pre-packaged, hysterically advertised and celebrity-promoted. One of those things is real ale. The stereotype of the real ale drinker is laughably out of date. If you think of matted beards, stained cardigans and huge bellies, you need to get out more. Real…

  • Greenland: vanity, seal meat and gonorrhoea

    It was, of course, vanity which took me to Greenland. One of the great problems about travelling a lot, and advertising the fact in print, is that each trip has to be harder than the last. If it’s not, they’ll say that you’ve lost your nerve or slumped terminally in the suburbs, and your pride…

Got any book recommendations?