September Update

Book Post

Book Post

Another good and productive month, my reading plan is a minimum of six books a month and again I’ve achieved that though I stalled a bit at the end of the month and just couldn’t get into anything for over a week, so rather than beating myself up about this I just did other blogging tasks.

I’ve started adding my gaming and photography content to www.bigbeardedbookseller.com, and I’ve continued to develop the indie bookshop lists and map on www.indiebookshops.com.

This does mean that I’ve closed down a couple of blogs and am consolidating their content onto the other blogs as I’m unsure of what’s going to happen in the future job wise.

It’s been a really good month for book post as well, two I’ve already read and reviewed, and another three or four to read and review before their release date.

Famished by Anna Vaught

A wonderful repast of short stories all around the themes of food/feasting/eating – some shared horrors of food and how memories can shape thought and behaviour – well crafted morsels of horror and thrills. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Hungry by Grace Dent

Laughter, tears, food, class – it had it all. I’ve always loved Grace’s way of writing about food and this humour is throughout Hungry even at the saddest of times. Roaring with laughter one moment then in tears the next. Buy this when it comes out, it was so good I finished it in a day. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The President’s Room by Ricardo Romero

translated by Charlotte Coombe.

A dazzling little book of understatement and metaphor, almost poetic in form, there was a simmering darkness throughout which slowly built in tension to the brooding conclusion. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Mudlarking by Lara Maikem

I’ve always been fascinated by foraging, fossicking, and finding things on sea shores, mudlarking has always been a draw. Lara writes an entertaining and illustrative story of her adventures on the banks of the Thames. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Dead Girls by Selva Almada

Translated by Annie McDermott.

A horrifying subject, a gripping narrative. I’m not sure how any words are going to do this book justice. Haunting, harrowing, emotionally draining but so, so well written. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Glimpses of the Unknown edited by Mike Ashley

A collection of never before reprinted stories of the supernatural from the start of the 20th century, a strong collection from a shared moment in time culturally, especially in my favourite The House of the Black Evil, the time of spiritualism supported by luminaries such as Arthur Conan Doyle

Well worth a dip into. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

A modern classic I’ve been meaning to read for a very long time now, and another one I’m wishing I read earlier. I enjoyed the rawness, the solitude, the triumph, and the grief – all with a sublime rawness of salt in a wound. ⭐⭐⭐⭐


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Still Water: The Deep Life of the Pond

John Lewis-Stempel. Transworld. (304p) ISBN 9781784162429

Still Water The Deep Life of the Pond

Still Water The Deep Life of the Pond

I was given Still Water: The Deep Life of the Pond as it is well known that I love a well written book on nature and the idea of rewilding.

I had previously read Meadowland by the same author and really enjoyed the style of John Lewis-Stempel’s writing, so relaxed and almost poetic in his love of the countryside.

This book jumps between a personal biography of John’s relationships with ponds and a pond throughout the year, how ponds have influenced landscape, and how ponds have been used in their relationship with human development.

The descriptive prose really envelops you in John’s world and the world of the flora and fauna of the various ponds and seasons that are described. This really has come home to me this year as one of the touchstones that has helped keep me going this year is a large pond that I stop to say hello to the fish and fowl on my daily walk.

A book that really makes you think about our relationship and the importance of a piece of geography that we often pass by written with such love it makes you want to hug the book.


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.

Mudlarking

Lara Maiklem. Bloomsbury. (336p) ISBN 9781408889237

Mudlarking

Mudlarking

I’ve always been fascinated by finding things on the shoreline whether they be old things discarded by humans, natural objects shaped by the sea, or evidence of past life in the form of fossils.

When the opportunity came along to get a copy of Mudlarking I jumped at it.

I’ve heard the name a lot over the last ten or so years and knew in essence what it was but it was lovely to read someones development as a mudlarker, from the early discoveries to where she is now, juggling this passion with family.

The mix of current biography with historical research is absolutely compelling, linking these found objects to their past and personalising the stories of their production and loss made me want to learn more about them (and take a large pair of wellies with me whenever I go to London).

The book is set out in chapters of exploration corresponding to sections of the tidal Thames, with a few stories of discoveries and biography in each section. This is well-paced and the writing is warm and personal making you involved in Lara’s discoveries and growth.

The illustrations from Johnny Mudlark one the cover are absolutely fascinating and I would love to see more.

An excellent book, teasing and open at the same time, all about hidden treasure that fascinates us all.


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.

Dune Saga

The cover of my first copy of Dune

The cover of my first copy of Dune

After watching that brilliant trailer for Villeneuve’s adaptation of the Dune saga by Frank Herbert I felt that I should really read the whole saga including non-Frank additions before I see the film.

I’ve been reading the original saga since the late 70s and it was one of the first series of books that I remember being excited about a new addition coming out, but I’ve always avoided reading any of the books outside of Frank Herbert’s original six just incase I was disappointed and it spoiled the whole ‘universe’, but now I feel I should really give them a go to round out everything.

I also at this point have to admit that I have a soft spot for the David Lynch film no matter what other people say, and no matter how much it diverted from the source material. It was visually stunning for the time and I’m going to watch that again this evening (and probably another couple of times before I get to see the new one).

There is an article on Tor.com called ‘Where to Start with the Dune Universe‘ and I’m going to follow the chronological reading order they recommend, and to this end have just got myself a copy of ‘The Road to Dune’ that has a lot of the early short stories in it.

I’ll give a really brief review of each story/book as I read them so you’ll see this post pop to the top of the blog occasionally as I read another part of the saga.

  • Hunting Harkonnens” (story, The Road to Dune)
  • Dune: The Butlerian Jihad
  • Whipping Mek” (story, The Road to Dune)
  • Dune: The Machine Crusade
  • The Faces of a Martyr” (story, The Road to Dune)
  • Dune: The Battle of Corrin
  • Sisterhood of Dune
  • Mentats of Dune
  • Red Plague” (story, Tales of Dune)
  • Navigators of Dune
  • Dune: House Atreides
  • Dune: House Harkonnen
  • Dune: House Corrino
  • Wedding Silk” (story, Tales of Dune)
  • Dune
  • A Whisper of Caladan Seas” (story, The Road to Dune)
  • The Waters of Kanly” (story, Infinite Stars)
  • Paul of Dune
  • Dune Messiah
  • The Winds of Dune
  • Children of Dune
  • God Emperor of Dune
  • Heretics of Dune
  • Chapter House Dune
  • Sea Child” (story, Tales of Dune)
  • Treasure in the Sand” (story, Tales of Dune)
  • Hunters of Dune
  • Sandworms of Dune
  • Tales of Dune
  • The Road to Dune
  • Dreamer of Dune [biography of Frank Herbert]

Hunting Harkonnens, short story

I started in on this as soon as my copy of ‘The Road to Dune’ arrived, a straightforward little adventure to introduce us to the universe of thinking machines, Harkonnen behaviour, Caladan, Zensunni Wanderings, and the Buddislamic tribes. Nothing too exciting and seemed a bit truncated, but otherwise OK.


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.