23 NOVEMBER 1991, Page 33

Hilary Corke

Some literary bof (boring old fart) said, and surely more than once, that every time a new book came out he re-read an old one; and I am afraid I am a bof in this, as no doubt in other respects.

The only new book that I have read this year and am in any danger of re- reading is Laurie Lee's A Moment of War (Viking, £14.99). But I do thoroughly recommend, of 1991's replacements, Phineas Fletcher's The Purple Island (The Printers to the Universitie of Cambridge), Richard Head's The English Rogue Described (Francis Kirkman, next door to the Prince's Arms in St Paul's-Church- Yard), and Edwin Lees' Pictures of Nature in the Silurian Region around the Malvern Hills (Malvern, H/W. Lamb, The Royal Library).