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Book of Kells

Essence of the North

What is the “Essence of the North?” That is what is being asked by The Northerner Blog in the Guardian today. They are asking for contributors to post an image that captures the essence of the North. Whose North? There is always the chocolate box image of Dales and Moors, unbroken wilderness, apart from James …


Seeing Myself in Children’s Fiction

Growing up in the 60s and early 70s, on a working class estate on the south edge of Edinburgh that was gradually being abandoned, where all the traditional industries that sustained the community had disappeared, it was difficult to see myself in the children’s fiction of the era. I eventually found Kes but that was …

Rivers of London

Rereading Rivers of London

With Ben Aaronovitch’s latest entry into the world of Peter Grant just released I thought it would be a good time to reread the whole series in chronological order (including short stories, graphic novels, and audiobook.) By the time I’ve read all of these again hopefully the paperback edition of ‘Amongst Our Weapons’ will have …


Walking Away from the Tabletop

It’s been 40ish years. I’ve been involved with tabletop gaming since the early 80s, leaving the working class area where I was brought up and the only entertainment I had was football and boxing, I started hanging around with a group of middle-class college kids. and that’s where I discovered Rogue Trader and Dungeons and …

The Cat Who Saved Books

Books for September 2021…

and a round-up of what I did in July. Which saw the reading block well and truly break! Between March 15th and 2nd July I had read only two books, two books. This month I’ve read eight and didn’t feel pressured by any of it. There was also a good hit rate as well two …

The Sea Cloak

Short Stories in Translation

It’s August and that must mean it’s Women in Translation Month. “Women in Translation Month is all about appreciating the great women writers who do get translated – and of course the people who bring them to us, their translators and publishers. It’s an opportunity to join in a worldwide conversation about outstanding writing from …

Splinters of Sunshine

Books for August 2021

I know I’ve just posted a blog on books for July 2021 but I’m trying to get this recommend post out a couple of months in advance so here’s August’s and I’m now going to be working on September’s if there are any books you want me to highlight. As always these are my personal …