Six Degrees of Separation: from The Tipping Point to …

41-2d6m5+kL._AC_US218_The starter for this month’s six degrees is Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point (2002).  It’s important to include that first word.  I forgot when I looked it up on Amazon and got the popular TV game which I haven’t watched but have a vague understanding of courtesy of family members who all tell me that I’m missing out.  I haven’t heard of Gladwell’s book either but having finally found it on Amazon, I now notice its subtitle: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, and I think this is a book that I ought to have read and ought to enjoy.  A skim of the chapter titles didn’t endear it to me though.  I suspect it will remain a worthy book which I shall never quite pick up.  (I also noticed his more recent book: Outliers (2007). This one I have heard of, but it fell into the same category: I ought to want to read it but really, I don’t.) Continue reading “Six Degrees of Separation: from The Tipping Point to …”

Reading rambles: reading in situ

The Birdwatcher by William Shaw

‘Superb description of a haunting, blighted landscape.
His best book so far’

I am not a connoisseur of crime novels, though I have read a book by C J Sansom, whose praise it is that adorns my library copy of The Birdwatcher.  I don’t understand the distinction between thriller, psychological thriller, crime novel, detective novel, police procedural.  Perhaps there is no distinction; perhaps they are all terms for a wide umbrella of popular fiction, which, if what I read is correct, is currently booming.  Whatever it’s called, I have been standing out in the rain for quite some years, not particularly drawn to the genre however it might be described, and not really sure what the fuss is about.  But recently, I’ve read a couple of crime novels: the first as an early reviewer, because the book was based in Cornwall and the second because it was based in Dungeness.  And I might just be taking the bait.  But I’ve also been bitten by another bug. Continue reading “Reading rambles: reading in situ”

The Winds of Heaven by Monica Dickens



Today is the birthday of Monica Dickens, great-granddaughter of Charles, and next in the Birthday Book of Underappreciated Lady Authors collated by Jane at Beyond Eden Rock.  This will be the third lady author that I’ve appreciated thanks to Jane, but unlike the previous two, I had heard of Monica Dickens beforehand.  That said, I knew her as the author of the children’s Follyfoot stories; I had no experience of her writing for adults.

Monica Dickens had her first book published in 1939 and her last was published posthumously in 1992: a career spanning more than half a century.  She certainly deserves to be celebrated! Continue reading “The Winds of Heaven by Monica Dickens”

Six Degrees of Separation: from The Poisonwood Bible to …

This month’s Six Degrees has come around again already.  Hosted every month by Kate at books are my favourite and best, we each begin with the same starter book and link a further six books to make a chain.  Each book only needs to link to the one immediately before it though invariably my books link together in more ways than one.  I never have any idea where my chain will lead me and am frequently surprised when I reach the end to find links and themes that weren’t apparent to me as I went along.  This month is no exception and indeed, has turned my Six Degrees into something more. Continue reading “Six Degrees of Separation: from The Poisonwood Bible to …”

Dungeness: dropped from the back of a lorry

This was once a lonely, forgotten place and people who came here did so because they wanted the lifestyle that went with it: private and elemental

Under the looming geometry of the power station, small shacks were dotted about untidily, as if they’d been dropped accidentally from the back of a lorry.  In recent years, the millionaires had arrived.  Some huts had been rebuilt as luxury houses with big glass doors and shiny flues.  Others still looked like they were made from scraps pilfered from a tip.

The Birdwatcher (William Shaw) Continue reading “Dungeness: dropped from the back of a lorry”

My Blog’s Name in Books

I am away this week – where the internet will be rationed.  (Sharp intake of breath.)  This means that finishing the run of posts that I’ve been tinkering with, which date back to a trip made in February (yes – don’t judge me) will have to wait a bit longer.  It also means that I can plug the gap with posts that I seem able to produce more quickly.  What is it about book-related memes?  I just can’t resist… Continue reading “My Blog’s Name in Books”

The View from Here: Dungeness

The panorama is surreal, alien, unique
The view from here is harsh and it takes no prisoners

I may have been eager for what has seemed like an especially long winter to end, but a small part of me has been glad we have had to wait for a run of reliable spring days, because I have been writing about Dungeness in winter.  A task which doesn’t sit easily among vistas of skipping lambs and primroses, soft blue skies and playful breezes. Continue reading “The View from Here: Dungeness”