Skip to main content


Recent posts

I'm back, don't know for how long...

I was wondering before I wrote this if it was better to just start posting again as if nothing had happened, or to make an announcement, outlining my plans for the blog. In the end I decided on the middle way: just to say I'm back, and I have plans, but for now they will go unannounced and I will start posting a couple of times a week. I'll begin by posting some of the partially finished posts that have been languishing in my draft queue since I stared my last blogging break.

In any case, I don't expect there are many readers left for this blog, but that's okay because this blog is really just a place for me to gather my thoughts about books and reading in general and specifically about the books I read. Readers are a bonus for me, not a necessity. That's not to say I don't appreciate knowing they're out there, so if you feel like letting me know of your existence, do leave a comment.

(No spam, please).

Review: You Are Awful (But I Like You) by Tim Moore

Full title: You Are Awful (But I Like You): Travels Through Unloved Britain.

I was in Manchester (the one in England) earlier in the month and thoroughly enjoyed wandering around the Christmas markets, visiting the John Rylands Library, doing a spot of Christmas shopping and eating good food. I only managed to visit one bookshop, and when I can't visit more than one, I try to make it count and therefore I chose Waterstones. The Waterstones I visited in Manchester isn't nearly as large as the big one London, but it was big enough to make me happy.

I don't really need more books and when I buy them new I try to choose ones I know or expect will become keepers. I've already been disappointed by one of my purchases (The Soul of an Octopus) and I can only hope the remaining books I bought will not be as disappointing.

The book under review here is actually one of the books I considered buying, but didn't. I then came across it second hand at a fraction of the price a cou…

Review: The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery

I love to read popular science books and have a small collection of them. Two of them are about sea creatures that I found charming and interesting enough to keep and was hoping that The Soul of an Octopus might become the third book in this small sub-collection.

However, the title should have been a clue that it wouldn't be. I was hoping the book would be the balanced mixture of natural history and personal observations that I like in such books, but it turned out to be mostly about the author's friendly interactions with octopuses, interspersed with snippets of information about their life-cycles and physiology, some of which are repeated more than once, and slightly longer attempts to justify the book's subtitle: "A surprising exploration into the wonder of consciousness".

With a sub-title, and indeed a title, like that, one might at least have expected there to be some philosophical musings about octopus consciousness, but there was very little of that, and n…

Wrapping up the What's in a Name reading challenge

I always have fun doing the What's in a Name reading challenge, and this year was no exception. I signed up for it on July 28, and it took me just under two weeks to read and review the first five books - and 2 1/2 months to find, read and review the sixth and last book.

 I posted my first review on August 1, the day after I finished it, and the last one I posted on October 22, two days after I finished it.

The books and categories were, in order of reviewing: 
A building. Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones.An alliterative title. Dr. Mütter's Marvels by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz.A compass direction. West With the Night by Beryl Markham.An item or items of cutlery. A Knife at the Opera by Susannah Stacey.The letter X in the title. Alexandria by Nich Bantock. A number in numbers in the title. 1968 by Mark Kurlansky.  The genres were not as varied as they have sometimes been, with two fantasies, two biographies, a history book and a mystery. Even some of the sub-gen…

Just finished my 100th book of the year!

...which is hardly news, except in the last couple of years, around this time of the year, I was somewhere in the mid-to-high 200s. Cutting back on my reading has resulted in more enjoyment of the books I read and I also remember them better. I am also listening to more audio books, and have finished 20 so far.