Photography: Short Stories and Sports Books

I’ve always had a big interest in books. And amid my interest in the classic and the contemporary novels, I’ve had a big passion for short stories and sports books. I’ve quoted a few of them on my Literature and Sports pages but wanted to share them as pictorial form. You’ll find these two photos and plenty of others on my Instagram page of Raphaelalexx.




Line(s) of the Day #Sherlock


John Watson: “A place like this must be expensive.”
Sherlock Holmes: “Not really. I know the landlady, Mrs. Hudson. She owes me a favour. A few years back, her husband was sentenced to death in Florida. I was able to help out.”
John Watson: “You stopped her husband from being executed?”
Sherlock Holmes: “Oh, no, I ensured it.”

Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock, a modern retelling of Sherlock Holmes. A huge critical and commercial success, Sherlock (2010 – ) is shown in 200 countries and has won countless awards, including seven Emmys.

Reviews and other Features – A – Z Reading Challenge

Zoe, Natasha and Kim have all done this very cool A – Z feature based on reading. Literature has been a big part of the blog and has always meant a lot to me, so there was no way I wasn’t going to get in on the fun.


Author you’ve read the most books from:

Roald Dahl. He had such a wonderful imagination and was one of the writers who got me into reading from a very early age.

Continue reading

Creative: A Life in the Day

A newspaper I’ve been reading since I was a teenager has always had a back page feature entitled ‘A Life in the Day’; a reverse reference to the famous Beatles song. In it, a celebrity or even an ordinary person will explain a regular day and how that relates to their life. It continues to this day, and a few years ago I bought the 25th Anniversary book. As part of a writing project, I wrote one myself when I was 18. It’s amazing to look back the hopes, dreams and routine of myself over a decade ago. I hope you like it. And no, I still don’t drink tea or coffee.

Continue reading

The Liebster Award

One of the many benefits of blogging is the people you run into, and when those people rate your blog as highly as you rate theirs, is an added bonus. I am honoured to accept The Liebster Award especially from such a great site. Taken by the Lapels has been running around 3 weeks which tells you just how highly her blog is rated. It’s spontaneous, fun and with a personal and engaging tone.


Here’s how the Leibster Award works. Those nominated are blogs with tons of potential, but with less than 200 followers. If you’ve been nominated, and you choose to accept here’s the scoop:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog
  2. You must answer the 10 questions given to you by the nominee before you
  3. Nominate 10 of your favorite blogs with fewer than 200 followers and notify them of their nomination
  4. Come up with 10 questions for your nominees to answer
  • How did you pick your blog’s name?

Alex is my first name, Raphael my middle name. Raphael is my reminder of my half Latin background and my more creative side.

  • What would your Superhero name be?

Adrenalin. Though I’m quite happy to read for hours or sit and watch a film, I have bursts of energy which could be put to good use.

  • What’s your favorite TV show?

Frasier and Seinfeld. Comedy genius that will never date.

  • What are three things on your bucket list?

Finish and publish my novel, enter a high stakes poker tournament and visit more of the US.

  • Who is your favorite fictional character?

From books Sherlock Holmes. From TV Jerry Seinfeld. And from Films Ferris Bueller.

  • What is your most prized possession?

Some really striking film posters by a friend who is a graphic designer. They were never available in the shop and he know longer does them.

  • Describe yourself in three words.

Adventurous. Creative. Raconteur

  • What is your guiltiest pleasure?

Mint choc chip milkshakes from Baskin Robbins. Perfect after a film in central London. Ahhhh, who am I kidding? They’re perfect anytime.

  • What is your proudest accomplishment?

Qualifying for a local elite level poker tournament

  • What’s your favorite post that you’ve written? (Link, please!)

Gr8at – Short Story writers Short stories are a huge passion of mine and it was an early example of what I wanted the blog to be about.

In alphabetical order, a gr8at of very awesome blogs that I really recommend you look at.

Anna Grimoire

Audrey Hepburn Books


Eye of Lynx

J James Reviews


The London Scrapbook

Wide Awake But Dreaming

10 Questions

What is the nicest/most memorable thing someone has said in your blog?
How different is your blog to how you planned it?
Which literary character do you most identify with?
Which piece of art would you most like to have on your wall?
Who are you most like in your family?
Which celebrity would you most like to meet?
What is your favourite drink/cocktail?
Which sporting event would you most want VIP tickets too?
What was your favourite book as a child?
Which country which you’ve not already been to would you most like to go to?

Line(s) of the Day

Sherlock Holmes Illustration“How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?”

Sherlock Holmes in The Sign of the Four (1890) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle


Oh and check out this link for 10 very surprising facts

Best Short Story Writers

There is something glorious in an imaginative, well crafted, and perfectly executed short story. Other literary genres may get wider recognition, but the alchemic skill of being able to turn a clever premise into writing gold is all too rare. All the more reason then, after very considerable consideration, to salute eight masters of the genre who consistently raised the literary bar.

Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe

The Gothic godfather and enigmatic maestro himself. Poe was a genius for creating evocative, horrifying atmospheres in stories such as the strikingly symbolic The Fall of the House of Usher, twisted fable Metzengerstein, and the frenetic The Pit and the Pendulum. Poe’s intensity, and gift for capturing despair and madness, is unparalleled. With his nameless narrator in The TellTale Heart he captures true insanity; a gruesome, motiveless murder, before revealing how a conscience can take the most unlikely form. And as if that wasn’t enough, his stories of the intellectual amateur investigator C. Auguste Dupin, with his considered and logical reasoning to solve a mystery, helped inspire the detective genre.

Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury

With the success of Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles it’s no surprise he’s best known as a science fiction and fantasy writer, but Bradbury’s work covered and surpassed all genres. What makes Bradbury stand out was his genuine love for writing, enabling him to create all kinds of imaginative and unique settings in his stories, once writing every day for 69 consecutive years. Those uninitiated should check out Long after Midnight, a 22-story collection published in 1976. One Timeless Spring is about a 12 year old who believes his parents are slowly poisoning him, A Piece of Wood is of an idealistic determined to leave the army and put an end to armed conflict, and The Pumpernickel tells of a sentimental old man and his idea of recapturing his past. The haunting title story itself, about three ambulance drivers going to collect a dead body, sets all new levels of perfection.

Roald Dahl


The writer who first really got me into reading, and judging by his numerous awards and countless film and TV adaptations, I’m in good company. His devilish sense of humour, gifted descriptions and cunning twists meant readers were riveted no matter how dark or outrageous the set-up. Hugely consistent in quality, Dahl usually wrote in a knowing third person narrative, giving the feeling that we were in on the secret and the characters would be the last to know. Whether in literary form, or in stories adapted for television series Tales of the Unexpected (which he created) or Alfred Hitchcock Presents, stories like Lamb to the SlaughterThe Way up to HeavenThe Landlady and Skin shows he always knew how to connect to an audience.



Raised from the age of two by his grandmother and strict puritanical aunts, Hector Hugo Monroe’s creative outlook was always going to be different to most. Believed to have taken his pen-name from an obscure Persian poem, Saki was a playful and witty writer who was adept at enabling the reader to sympathise with his child characters whilst hilariously mocking authoritative family figures. His Clovis and Reginald stories are a delight, noticeable for their strong characterisation and satirical elements.The Storyteller though, is a personal favourite and one that perfectly encapsulates his style. An aunt struggles to look after a young and impatient niece and nephew, before a stranger bothered by all the noise, decides to tell a curious story to hold their attention.

James Thurber

James Thurber

There is no point disguising how much of a fan I am of the unique Ohio humourist who wrote most of his stories for The New Yorker, frequently with his own gloriously distinctive annotations. His work has made me laugh more than any other writer. Thurber was able to capture the absurd and the ridiculousness within family life with sharp but endearing descriptions that could make even the simplest of plots hugely entertaining. In his stories, be they about a browbeaten daydreamer in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, or how a family pet could divide opinions even within households in The Dog that Bit People, Thurber was one of the most involving writers around. Also worth checking out are his modern takes on fairy tales, in particular with The Princess and the Tin Box.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

It’s scary to think just how much Doyle eventually grew to hate his iconic character Sherlock Holmes, whose unprecedented success he felt eclipsed all his other literary work. Indeed, Doyle tried to kill off the greatest literary sleuth of all time in The Final Problem, only for the public’s insatiable demand for more stories forcing him to bring Holmes back. The consolidation would be that the ruthless Holmes and fiercely loyal companion Dr Watson have left an indelible mark far beyond the detective genre. And this was evident even from the first story, A Scandal in Bohemia, when Irene Adler outsmarted Sherlock Holmes, over twenty years before women in Britain were permitted to vote. So much was packed into the 56 short stories, and with demand showing no sign of abating, that even now film and TV makers are finding different ways to adapt them to a new audience.

Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde

A strong candidate for the most entertaining ever dinner guest, the much celebrated and oft-quoted wit Oscar Wilde also had a skill for short stories. Though not as prolific in the genre as others on the list, the Dublin-born writer had a lyrical flair and parable style tone seemingly written for children. Stories such as The Happy PrinceThe Selfish Giant, and The Model Millionaire, have a touching and inspirational nature. Wilde also delighted in exposing hypocrisy. Apart from his skill in satire, canny use of unhappy or unresolved ending and ignorant characters, what helps separate Wilde from others was the almost poetic and seamless style Wilde had, best seen in The Nightingale and the Rose.

Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway

Though it means no Franz Kafka, Dorothy Parker, John Collier, O Henry or Graham Greene, Ernest Hemingway just had to be on this list. One of literature’s all time greats, the author of spellbinding classics including The Old Man and the SeaFor Whom the Bells Tolls and the astonishing first novel Fiesta, Hemingway had a seemingly minimalist style that worked just as effectively in short stories. A particularly memorable one, and one that encapsulates what Hemingway was all about, is A Clean Well Lighted Place. Set mostly in a Spanish cafe, with few characters, no hidden twists or dramatic language and with little actually happening, it is as deep a story about loneliness that you could hope to find. The KillersHills like White ElephantsThe Capital of the World and The Snows of Kilamanjaro are among others to highlight Hemingway’s extraordinary gift for subtle language and wider significance.