The Man Who Saw Everything: A gap in time

I’m having a gap in time that’s so far lasted the whole of a morning in the backyard of our house in Wavertree, the house we’re not leaving. It’s a Monday, it turns out, and a bank holiday too. Which I’d not been expecting as it’s only two weeks since the banks last had a […]

“When I didn’t know what sadness was”

‘When I didn’t know what sadness was, I could afford to be sad.’ Eighty five pages into my current novel, ‘The Seven Sisters’ by Margaret Drabble, that sentence turned up, made me put the book down and go off into a memory of a time I too decided ‘I could afford to be sad.’ ✹ […]

I’m Not Reading Enough: A Confession

I’m not reading enough. Early on a Friday evening I’m sat here at home in the room where I mostly write these blog posts, writing happily. Joni Mitchell’s singing over in the corner. I’d call it ‘in the background’ except it isn’t. Joni’s singing good and loud: ‘The guy at the gas pumps he’s got […]

Look At Me: Reading Anita Brookner

‘Once a thing is known it can never be unknown. It can only be forgotten.’ My friend Kate Rodenhurst and I both read Anita Brookner’s ‘Look At Me’ in the same month, in the same city, long after it had been published and independently of each other. Having discovered this coincidence and both been strongly […]

Elmet: “Having already got out all our words for the day”

I loved everything about this book. There, that’s the criticism out of the way, now let’s get down to details. It arrived as one of many I’d laid in for the quiet days as work was put down and Christmas waited for New Year. I didn’t pick it up to read first or even third […]

For the Love of Secondhand Books: A Digression

It’s a perfect example of what it is, a secondhand book. It’s got other well used books on its cover, it’s on a ‘vintage’ imprint and I bought it from a secondhand  bookshop. It is also, by the way, a perfect book. Tom Hanks says it as well as I ever could in his review […]