I, for one, welcome our 2021 overlords

That’s been a bit of a year then hasn’t it.

Though there have been some ups and downs, personally and at work, thankfully the ‘worst’ that has happened to me has been an extended period of furlough.

Though even this ‘worst’ has had a lot of upside.

I’ve been able to get on with a lot of projects during this nine months and they are now at the stage where there is very little than regular upkeep and development, all the building work has been done now.

My main project is still Indie Bookshops, and this year has allowed me to split the list of bookshops down into regional lists and to double check to make sure that the shop was still open and that the contact details were still correct.

It’s also allowed me to catch up on the large backlog of information I had to put onto the various lists.

The next step is to start up the Browse a Bookshop and Publisher Profile features once more, the plan is to have one of each up every week with or without the subjects input, that is the answers to the list of questions associated with the feature. I would much prefer to have the bookshops and publishers involved though and will be contacting each one I want to put on the blog before it goes on.

Then there is the sister site to that, Independent Publishers, which I had mothballed and wasn’t sure whether or not I was going to continue with, I am going to get it up and running again with all the information that I’ve collected on Indie Bookshops duplicated there.

I will also be launching Wicked Words, a platform for me to explore my own writing and put out some writing information that I discover at the same time. I will also be relaunching Ephemeral once more, a platform for my photography and art, including bits on art history and practice.

Then there’s this blog, which will mainly be about book reviews, all the other more personal bits, recipes and such will be going onto the Patreon for Big Bearded Bookseller.

So even though it’s been a worrying year, and a bit frightening at times it’s been a constructive year with the foundations well and truly built for 2021.


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You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.

Vesper Flights

Helen Macdonald. Vintage. (272p) ISBN 9780099575467

Vesper Flights

Vesper Flights

I’ve just returned to work after almost nine months of furlough and decided to use the walk to and from work as an opportunity to listen to audiobooks now that I’m enjoying them.

Vesper Flights by Helen Macdonald was the first of my walking books, and I’ve been saving it to be that as I thought a collection of non-fiction essays would be perfect to start this new routine.

Helen read the audiobook which made these personal essays all the more poignant, as though they were about nature there was an aspect of them which were about her personal life and this thread wove through them all so deeply.

Lots of warmth and humour enveloped me as I found out about different animals, habitats, and parts of Helen’s life.

I especially loved the essay about the swiftlets and the cricket match, the waiting, then the applause. But my favourite essay ended with some cattle stalking though I was entranced through every word.

Will have to search out H is for Hawk on audiobook if it exists.


If you want to help and support this blog you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.

Norse Mythology

Neil Gaiman. Bloomsbury. (304p) ISBN 9781408891957

Norse Mythology

Norse Mythology

Another of those books that’s been adorning my shelves for many months, but Norse Mythology felt like another book for these times.

I’ve read the myths referenced in this work several times from several sources, and they were enjoyable, so I was really looking forward to seeing what Neil Gaiman would do with them, especially since I wasn’t that keen on Stephen Fry’s take on the Greek myths.

Once started it was impossible to put down, they were fresh and fun whilst not detracting from the source material. Neil’s voice and tone were spot on and added a great flavour to the myths, something which has sometimes felt lost in a lot of other translations/interpretations.

Finished this in an afternoon and evening, but the tales are so well executed that they can easily be revisited again and again, especially since the ones chosen are great fun.

Another great book from Neil Gaiman which is a keeper, a rare occurrence now we’re running out of shelf space.


If you want to help and support this blog you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.

Children of Blood and Bone

Tomi Adeyemi. Pan Macmillan. (544p) ISBN 9781509871353

Children of Blood and Bones

Children of Blood and Bones

There has been so much hype about Children of Blood and Bones that I was a bit leery about starting it just in case it disappointed.

I needn’t have worried as from the start of the book Tomi develops a set of characters and world that is both fantastically exciting and believable. The world draws from east-African traditions and culture and is all the richer for it. The originality of the story in the fantasy genre really sets it apart.

Set in a world of prejudice, fear and hate where magic users are feared and hated, their families have been slaughtered and oppressed by the current King.

Zélie mother was one such magician, through the book Zélie has to come to terms with her history and magic. She is assisted by a cast of characters that are as fully-fledged as she is, some coming from the camp of the enemy. This often brings emotional tension to the fore and this tension is as wel;-explored as the magic and adventure.

A well-paced fantasy adventure that I just didn’t want to put down, and please believe the hype.


If you want to help and support this blog you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.