The problem with bookshops is you always want to buy something when you go in. I wish I had more money, and could buy locally more often. There’s an independent bookshop near my university, a sweet little place called Unity Books that’s always filled with people. Well, it feels that way; it’s small enough that not […]


Look at you. Sitting there with your beach novels. Blissfully, ignorantly happy with your paragraphs. You don’t know what I’ve seen. What I’ve suffered.   This is a book that was made into a movie filmed in black and white. This movie is seven hours long. The first shot lasts ten minutes. It is of […]

When people ask me my favourite book, I usually reply with a list. There will be disclaimers: “I like all the Discworld books but this is my favourite so it stands in for the whole” (Nightwatch); “This was my favourite book as a child and I’ve read it a million times so it gets a […]

The Paradise Lost Mystery


Some years ago, I bought a folio copy of Paradise Lost. I purchased it online, and it travelled the length of the country to get to me. I suspect the person I bought it from had not opened it often.   It is not my first Paradise Lost, but it may be my oldest. Given […]

It has come to be that I spend far too little time reading. I enjoy reading, but I never seem to find the time in the day in which to do any. My pile of bought-but-not-yet-read books grows ever larger, and something must be done.   Another matter is that I want to blog more. […]

Bonjour Tristesse first grabbed my attention with its title.   It had caught my eye when I was working in a bookshop a few years ago; one of a set of well-priced, slim books that came with their own cardboard shelf unit. I ummed and ahhed about it, on the basis that a fondness of […]


I’m reading Amanda Palmer’s book, The Art of Asking. I shouldn’t be, because it is November, and I am very far behind in writing my NaNoWriMo novel (or NaNovel, if you will). But it’s good, and I couldn’t help myself, and it has set me thinking.   I like the way Amanda writes. We have […]

Mervyn Peake is a dark god in a bizarre world of whimsy and melancholy. Gormenghast speaks of freedom, passion, and living, yet it is an examination of madness, of horror, of tragedy. And what does it say of tragedy? That it is meaningless, random. Therein lies its horror. That same meaninglessness infuses the traditions and […]

I was asked to write on my tumblr a list 10 books that have stayed with me in some way. And so I did, without thinking too hard and without making sure they were the right ones or “great works”, as requested. Here is my list: the ones that inspired me as a youth and […]