Monday, 27 June 2016

Postcard 4 Poems, Morning, and Sounds on the Lagoon,

Morning

Bright silver
morning sun crashes
onto the lagoon
breaking into
shards of
diamond light that shoal together
before breaking onto
the shore



Sounds on the Lagoon

The buzz of the coffee machine
The tap of a joiner’s hammer
The murmur of
considered conversations
Ducks quacking after their ducklings
The murderous shriek of seagulls,
loudest before it
stops
The clanging of a ship’s bell
The click of masts chiming
The whine of wind driving
through a hundred spinnakers
The boom of a boat’s engine
ploughing through the water - 
the shush of its wake as
it streams through the water
leaving a creamy line
on its pulsing surface
The chirp and chatter
of children in ten  tiny boats,
being towed in a line,
like ducklings in a row.


  


Au Revoir
Wendy

Postcard 4 Poems, Morning and Sounds on the Lagoon,

Morning
 Bright silver
morning sun crashing
onto the lagoon
breaking into
shards of
diamond light that shoal together
before breaking onto
the shore






Sounds on the Lagoon


The buzz of the coffee machine
The tap of a joiner’s hammer
The murmur of
considered conversations
Ducks quacking after their ducklings
The murderous shriek of seagulls,
loudest before it
stops
The clanging of a ship’s bell
The click of masts chiming
The whine of wind driving
through a hundred spinnakers
The boom of a boat’s engine
ploughing through the water
the shush of its wake as
it streams through the water
leaving a creamy line
on its pulsing surface
The chirp and chatter
of children in ten  tiny boats,
being towed in a line,
like ducklings in a row.

  

Au Revoir
Wendy

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Postcard 3, The Strawberry Moon and the EU Referendum

We watched for the ‘Strawberry Moon’ on Midsummer Night. This appears as the full moon coincides with Midsummer’s Eve, which only happens once in 47 years. Apparently it’s pink because it reflects at this time the sands of the Sahara. (How small is our world…)



I was thinking that 'primitve' people would - many times forty seven years ago - would have seen in as a great portent for the world. We watched as the moon rose, a delicate pale pink with its reflection in the waters of the lagoon.
I was thrilled to witness this phenomenon and there was much talk about it on the balcony. It has also almost superseded the talk about the Referendum.*. (‘Remain’ is winning all round....)
And then yesterday – the following evening – sitting on the balcony we watched the fullish moon rise in a deeper and even more distinctive rosy hue. In time its colour faded to butter yellow, then cream. But this time it started out even more strawberry pink than the night before. 
A perfect piece of holiday magic.
A propos. The youngest member our company  had us watching a brilliant University of Liverpool video were EU law expert  Professor Michael Dougan makes the soundest and impressively logical argument for us to remain in Europe. 

Apparently this video has gone viral. I hope everyone who votes today has listened to this coherent and unbiased discussion, Article HERE   

Two strawberry moons will, I hope, be a symbol for our more vibrant presence in Europe and good times ahead.









Au revoir
Wx






Sunday, 19 June 2016

Postcard 2 from Marseillan: Two Towns

Marseillan and Agde

We are staying in Marseillan, a small seaport between the larger Agde and the even larger Sête. Here, boats, surfboarders,  sailors anf holiday makers promenade on the newly laid shoreline path. 

To my left is a large-masted boat, apparently permanently docked. To my right is a large residential boat evolved from a barge – holiday accommodation of some kind. Yesterday we saw a chef in whites go aboard. There’s posh. And beyond that is a web of tinkling, small masted vessels clicking in the morning sun. Round the corner cafes line the quayside, each different in style and flavour. Such easy walking distance for that early morning cafe et croissant. 

Something near to Heaven perhaps.

With #lickedspoon in charge the wonderful food in the apartment is de rigeur, of course. And the talk has been good, referring to brilliant food writers – Ruth Reichl is a new discovery for me. We’ve also been reading the subtle Helen Simpson, the sharp-eyed   Alice Munro, the spiky Nell Zink – another new discovery for me.
We have ironic Muriel Spark as well as the sublime Norah Ephron who defines the creative process – in journalism, fiction and film – with finesse, political insight and humour. Re-reading her pieces is a refreshing writer’s education. And in crime we have Stephen Leather and James Craig. And – appropriate for the Football fest – John Cross’s biography of Arsene Wenger.

As usual S is winning for the annual ‘reading race’ - for reading the most books. His Kindle could be his secret weapon.

Recently we visited nearby Agde. This town is where we first
experienced the peculiar magic of the Languedoc - for several years renting a slice of a medieval fortress in the centre of the this very ancient market town, with its layers of history going back to the time when the Languedoc was not even part of France. It was always a port, welcoming traders from the the North, the East and the middle East – rich enough to be a target for pirates and invaders, and making a valuable access the mainland Europe.

With its feeling of a medieval market, this flourishing and crowded space is pure theatre.  Many of the customers are local, comingto the same place as their fathers and grandfathers   both to buy and to sell. 

All kinds of goods are for sale - from scarves and shirts to shoes and cheese, from bread and fruit to meat and soap.Essentially local, it provides a vibrant backdrop us people passing through. The sprinkling of visitors sit in the cafes and relish the distinctive drama.

 The town of Agde inspired a popular novel of mine called An Englishwoman in France, where the past and the present are curiously intermingled . It is also the focus of my novel Writing at The Maison Bleue. And in its ancient form it also plays a role in The Pathfinder. See if you can recognise it in that one. 

Did I tell you this place is inspiring for writers?

had coffee in the Plazza Cafe the Market Square then I filtered down the narrow old streets with their vague sense of threat, to the Cafe Capitaine on the quayside for a welcome glass of the rose wine of  the Languedoce

Needless to say I did a bit of scribbling…
Au revoir 

Wx

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Postcard 1 from Marseillan. Arrivé

A dark challenging winter meant that  for me this  holiday has been the most welcome ever.


As the plane landed in Montpellier I knew I could finally breathe out.  S. drove us through the  yellow and ochre landscape of South West  France, wiping out the memory of the lush green lanes of Yorkshire as we drove from County Durham to the airport.

Well, we got here. Nous arrivons. My dear sister was worried that we might be caught up in the ‘football riots.’ No worries. Wrong place.

Of course - three of four of us being football fans - we settled down to watch some matches on TV – no talking heads, just football, a accompanied by the soothing sub-murmur of the French commentary. Even I enjoyed it.

This apartment overlooks the Etang de Thau, the huge lagoon that sits alongside the Mediterranean. People drift by on the road below our balcony  – sun-tanned sailing types, couples hand in hand, smooth haired teenagers, mature cyclists, a small boy on skates and a little girl on a tiny scooter.

At the next table in the market café yesterday was a cluster of brown whipcord-fit middle aged cyclists, laughing and preparing for their ride. Couples pass by – the men middle-aged, solid and fit, the women smart in pedal pushers and leather sandals.

Our favourite companion here is Barney, silent in the flush of conversation, wise in his silence. His  French is improving, although he hasn't managed to lose his aversion to French bulldogs. He can sense them round the corner, one floor down, before they bustle into sight.

The apartment is elegant, pale walls, pale furniture,  natural wood,  with vast windows looking out in the étang, overcast now with streaming clouds. Yachts of all sizes turn to make their way into the harbour. 


The company is first class - as well as Barney we have the witty gourmet  lickedspoon, the problem- solving techno wizard and the English gentleman. And me. All Francophiles.


I never felt more European. And I voted to stay in, to live on in history alongside the engaging, down-to-earth French

Au revoir

Wendy

PS And then there are the books we're reading, But that will take another postcard...

Monday, 6 June 2016

Find out about The Pathfinder : New book trailer and special insights into the story

Click!The  Pathfinder (paperback)
The Pathfinder (Kindle) 

I dipped into my ancient Welsh Heritage and found a population of artists, singers,storytellers and path-makers and fighters - all reflections of my 21st Century preoccupations.  So-o  writing this historical novel was a very personal journey, full of joy. So I made this book trailer (click below) to let you know how much I have loved it.


In this post I include the following:

The Story/  Book Trailer/ Story extracts/  Elen of the Pathways/A Brigante Welcome/    Quintanius/ 5* Amazon Reviews/ Press Reviews of my novels

The Story

In 383 AD a truly great love story blossoms between Magnus Maximus, the Roman leader in Britain - afterwards for five years Roman Emperor - and Elen, daughter of a powerful British king in the place we now call Wales. Magnus is fascinated by Elen, a gifted Seer and healer and a ‘pathfinder’ whose talented ancestors made straight roads in Britain long before the Romans.
As the Roman Empire begins to crumble the love between Elen and Magnus links the sophisticated Celtic culture, with its esoteric rites and rituals as  the pragmatic military culture of Rome now imposes Christianity on the known world.
video

 Trailer Click Arrow 


Story Extracts for You 

2. Elen of the Pathways:-

You should understand that as well as being born generations and trained as seers, members of my family have always been pathfinders – my father, Eddu, his father, Caradoc, and the grandfathers and grandmothers before him, going back seventeen generations …
… it was they who found the paths that criss-cross this island and the lands across the sea. I have learned that a thousand generations ago the pathways were slight, mere shadows in the grass, reaching out and up to the horizon …. 
… my father has told me that, like him, task is to find the paths that lead to peace between the clans and tribes and to make this island whole …
… our family has the magic and means to deal with such malevolence and impiety. I learned early from my father - and then more perfectly from my seer* teachers - that an enemy’s malevolence can expose his weak side …
·       ‘Druid’
… the intricacy of the inherited magic in my family is reflected in the stories my brother lleu and our father’s cousin Bryn – both trained by the seers – would sing by the fire after the feasting.  My father Eddu and his grandfathers were seers. They were great kings whose wisdom and power has always been known throughout the islands. I myself have skills in magic from my schooling, although I’ve not been called upon to perform the pig- or mouse-changing caper …
… my first memory of actually using magic, as opposed to knowing and learning about it, was the time I turned a girl into an owl.

 

Later in story…

7 A Brigante Welcome

Elen: So we reach the dense Aclet Forest and, travelling along the far end of our own straight path – now paved over by Caesar’s men – we arrive at my grandfather’s house on the eve of his summer revels.
I feel at home when I see my mother’s birthplace, clearly the house of a great Chief with its fine round hall, its round lodges, its flower-strewn temples, its cattle and sheep pens and its storehouses for wool and lead. My nose itches at the smell of smoke and roast pig and burnt honey.
 Snow leaps down to the ground and joins the other yelping dogs as they lead the way into the great shadowy hall. This is such a cheery place! Light spurts from torches lining the wall and the great central fire glints on the objects on the shelves around those walls. These are laden with family treasures of finely worked silver and gold -   beautifully wrought figures, cauldrons and buckets. The same light also flickers on the polished white skulls strung in a long line between the roof beams – the heads of the enemies of my grandfather. Some of these, I know, are those of his own grandfathers…


Later In Story  
Quintanius: Now Magnus has the girl’s hair in his hand and the maid stands up to look down at him where he sits, a scowl on her fair face. He puts her rope of hair into her hand and for a moment it looks as though he might kiss her. There is the shimmer of threat between them. Haven’t I seen that many times? I feel tense, wondering if the maid has a weapon about her. These British women are fierce and not averse to fighting as hard as their men.

Amazon Star reviews of The Pathfinder 

 *****Magnum Opus, The past has never felt so real as in the last days of Roman Britain and the uneasy peace between natives and conquerors portrayed in Wendy Robertson's 'Pathfinder'. Heroine Elen is a beautifully drawn character uniting natives with the conquerors. Pathways lead in two directions and fey Elen's 'honeycomb' mind leads back centuries into the mists of time. But she is young and resourceful and her ordained path leads from her beloved coastal marshland of West Britain into Roman Gaul when the Roma nleader of Britain Magnus Maximus falls I love with the native girl, drawing her father and warrior brothers into his military schemes.
The book is filled with believable,fascinating characters including Aunt Olwen a drowned spirit, song-writer brother Lleu and Quin the faithful Roman devoted to both Elen and Magnus Maximum. It is a delightful, thought provoking read and I could not put it down. So many questions answered so many tantalisingly left. Elen has a future in her homeland and I want to know more.  ‘Erica’
  *****Wendy Robertson is a consummate practitioner of the crossover novel, one foot in the 'now' the other in the 'then' but with this book she has planted both feet firmly on the same historical path and the results are wonderful. 'The Pathfinder' has allowed me to bury two of my reading bête noirs. One is that I don't like historical fiction, the other is that I avoid books that make me cry. However this book has confounded both of these prejudices. I loved the story, part fact, part fiction and I was genuinely moved - not manipulated- by the beauty of the writing and the incredibly sad but uplifting ending. 'Anne’


****This is an imaginative and convincing recreation of life in Roman Britain as the Empire crumbled. It reads almost like a fantasy novel, while being thoroughly grounded in careful research. ‘Helen’

 ***** What a treat! I have long been an aficionado of historical fiction, delighting in the sensation of living in another time and place. The Pathfinder transported me to a world of otherness, a world permeated by myths and mysteries, a world with vastly differing constructs of reality. Within this well researched novel I glimpsed not only the land of my forefathers but the people who populated it, people who came to life as they lived and loved in a country I know well but within a historical context I barely understood. Wendy Robertson is to be congratulated on her diligent research of a less well known era of British history, alongside her capacity to take the reader from a daily world dominated by scientific concepts of the 21st century to the magical ethos permeating pre and post Roman Britain. I walked in Elen's shoes. I observed through her eyes, I empathized with her feelings - all thanks to the skill of the writer.’ Judith Mary’


(I would thank Clive Johnson for his meticulous proofreading of The Pathfinder. All us creative types need a meticulous proofreader...)

Press Reviews of my Work  

 ‘A terrific read. A world on the cusp of change and we experience it intimately.’ Historical Novels Review.
 ‘A powerful writer.’    Mail on Sunday.
  ‘Wonderful…Robertson deftly intertwines two time periods, slowly absorbing one into the other through the remarkably likeable protagonist.’   Booklist USA.
 ‘A great storyteller… she weaves another tale with ideas that still resonate when the story’s over.’ Northern Echo.
 ‘Wendy Robertson is a rare breed – a writer with an exquisite gift for creating vivid, relatable characters.’ Scottish Daily Record.

Note: ‘ In The Pathfinder I have taken the available material and archeological history of late fourth century Britain and addressed the powerful pre-Arthurian myths of Macsen Wledig and the British princess Elen. My intention is to weave a story that has hope, truth and justice at its heart.’ Also I have used the word ‘Seers’, where others would have said ‘Druids’ to avoid stereotypimg
Wendy Robertson






Thursday, 19 May 2016

Should There be a Qualitative Distinction between Adult and Children’s Literature?

My piece last week on the tributes to Alan Garner reminded me of the age -old dispute of whether so called young adult and children’s literature can realistically be viewed as mainstream literature. I am reminded on Alan Garner’s Red Shift which – with some discussion - was placed on both adult and children’s lists in libraries.

It’s an old discussion which has never really been resolved.

Of course, well written, perfectly crafted stories touching fundamental issues with poetic simplicity, published in the young-adult/children’s literature field,certainly should count as mainstream literature. Writers like Alan Garner, David Almond, Susan Cooper and Lucy Boston come to mind. Perhaps it’s the elements of magic so clearly intuited by  children and some special adults are a link between these writers.

This discussion means a lot to me. Written simply as novels, my first four books were placed by the publishers into the Young-Adult and Children’s Novel category. These novels were read and enjoyed by adults as well as children. In writing them I never saw then as any different from my later adult novels. I researched and told the story as it blossomed in my mind. I didn’t write them for ‘young adults’ or ‘children from eight to twelve years.’  For me they were just stories I was compelled to write. 

I was reminded of this on Monday when I was sorting out the shelf of my
own books. I came across a novel of mine called French Leave, on the flap of which was the review of the earlier novel The Real Life of Studs McGuire. It was from Growing Point, then a prime review source for children’s books. It said  The Real Life of Studs McGuire states the urban dilemma fair and square in an up-to-date setting and through strongly contemporary characters...the action is swift and exciting enough to carry the message to th0se who read it,...
I like that, It reminded me of the joy of writing about Studs. This one was categorised as ‘Young Adult’... 

Next I came across a novel of mine called Cruelty Games which was
On Kindle and Paperback here 
published as an adult novel. These are very different novels but both of them centre on the inner and outer lives of boys of sixteen and their impact on the lives around them. Interestingly my present novel-in-progress The Blue Pool, centres around Dee, an eccentric girl of thirteen and her impact on the people around her. It will be categorised as an adult novel,


Both Studs and Cruelty Games were  published by mainstream publishers and have been more recently republished by me.  I thought perhaps adults, young  and old,  might enjoy reading them and deciding whether they should be placed in and adult or young adult category.  

Or any category at all?
Wx

Monday, 9 May 2016

Alan Garner, Elidor, and Me



 Garner lives and works close to the Edge and is neither metropolitan nor provincial, He’s closer to being parochial, in Patrick Cavanaugh’s sense, never being ‘in any doubt about the social and artistic validity of his parish'. But he’s more than that. He goes under the parish to fetch out stones, he cleans them, he inspects them, he turns them into steeples and into walls, he lifts them up to the stars above. He turns stones to words. He is the first in his line to use words not things... David Almond.


The postman – late today – hands over the package. It is beautifully packed, so I open it carefully to find a book that I’d forgotten I’d ordered. It’s a finely produced book – good paper, good bindings. I smell it, as I always do with new books: a seductive smell for a lifelong reader,

I had forgotten it, because it’s months since I made my contribution to this important book – a crowd-funded publication by Unbound of London. My own name is there in the back, with hundreds of other individuals who contributed to the publishing process.

First Light, meticulously edited by Erica Wagner, comprises a series of
celebratory essays and tributes to Alan Garner - that leading shamanistic literary writer of his generation - that magus of the stones and the earth -who can take us back with ease to into the magical ages of bronze and iron and the Celtic sunrise.

Children are at the centre of Alan Garner’s novels which speak clearly to children who read. But he does not speak just to children. He speaks to all of us in the language of storytelling which links the reality of today with the the myths and magic embedded our human identity that we have inherited from with our Iron Age, Bronze Age and Celtic ancestors.

One important element in all Garner’s writing is that – unlike many so-called; fantasy writers today – it derives nothing from the more esoteric escapist fiction of CS Lewis or Tolkien. Looked at properly, Alan Garner – like David Almond, quoted above -  is much better labelled a reality writer than a fantasy writer.,

This volume,First Light, features tributes from a wide range of writers: from
Margaret Atwood to Neil Gaimon, from Helen Dunmore to Philip Pullman, from Rowan Williams to David Almond  

David Almond’s contribution is my favourite. As a writer he is closest to Alan Garner in having the magical skill of using child characters to give us access to the everyday magic all around us.  Children today can do this, still wrapped as they are, in the birth-caul of innocence. We can do it too, using the child inside us as a conduit for wonderful insights.

These days an increasingly rigid desire to catologue literature has led the public imagination to categorise the work of supreme writers such as Garner and Almond as ‘Children’s Literature’. Both of them are garlanded with prizes and awards acknowledging their success specifically in this field. But they are much more universally significant writers than that,


This collection of essays – in which every contributor has her or his own personal story of the impact of Alan Garner on their lives and their writing - convinces me even more that it’s time we stop  marginalising writers inspired by and accessible to children and honour them in the mainstream of literature.

Every reader will have their favourite in this collection. As I have said my favourite is David Almond’s .And I was touched by the very different contributions from two of Alan’s children the novelist Elizabeth and the scientist Joseph.

Philip Pullman, in a fine appreciation, embraces the difficult task of analysing the depth and complexity of Garner’s craft: ‘There’s an area of human activity where wiliness and cunning share a border with magic and the ability to call spirits from the vasty deep, and to call a storyteller crafty is not to disparage his craft but to acknowledge the borderland between conscious skill and inspiration from somewhere unreachable by logic and reason.’ He goes on: ‘There’s much I’ve stolen from Garner but this interest in craft, and the craft of story-telling has been the most rewarding.’

As T S Eliot once said, ‘All good writers steal. The trick is to steal from the best…’

For me, as a writer, the most inspiring words come Alan Garner himself. At the bottom level, my stories have to work as entertainment, keep a reader turning the page to find out what happens next. At the top level, they have to work for me, say what I want to express. In fact, I must write poetry, making words work on more than one level, subjecting myself to the poetic disciplines - pace, compression, simplicity.


Most of all I hope First Light will send shoals of readers back to reading the excellent novels of Alan Garner.

My favourites are  the fabulous Elidor 

and The Stone Book QuartetWhat’s yours?


Personal note: My novel The Pathfinder also draws on Iron Age and Bronze Age and Celtic identity colliding with the Roman occupation of Britain, See in side panel,      wx



Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Identity, Reading in Prison, and the Novels of Charlotte Mendelson

I first encountered the work of Charlotte Mendelson in a woman’s prison. 


I was reminded of this when I came across an announcement about 
the setting up of a partnership between. The Booker Prize Foundation and Prison Reading Groups to support books and reading in prisons. 

I’ve written here and  here before about my adventures involving reading and writing in prison, reflecting on my views that reading good literature can change lives in an out of prison,

In prison a group of us read, discussed and reviewed the novels on the 2008 Orange Prize short list. (It’s now called the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for fiction). Charlotte Mendelson’s novel When We Were Bad was on the shortlist. Of course the very title caused ripple of ironic laughter among the women the group.

We voted this novel the winner and were disappointed when the judges’ insight was not as good as ours. The women loved this novel; they really ‘got’ this deeply felt, beautifully written story growing out of the complexity of North London life. This specifically located novel really struck a chord with these women, from all kinds of background and areas of the country,

Wherever they are now (most will be ‘on the out’) I hope they get hold of Mandelson’s 2013 Booker long-listed novel Almost English. This excellent novel didn’t win that prize either. What are these judges up to? I wonder.

Almost English is a literary and psychological tour de force focusing on the politics and privileges embedded in close family life, especially in the lives of the women in a certain family with sixteen year of Marina and her mother Laura at the centre.

As the title suggests the story focuses on the nature of individual identity in a changing world. Marina’s family has roots in Hungary. Or is it Czechoslovakia? Or is it the Ukraine? In Marina's family this complex identity is embodied in Marina’s grandmother and two great aunts who speak Hungarian with each other and their own quaint version of English (Hunglish?) in the wider family. Very kindly Mendelson provides us with a glossary of Hungarian words and also a list of English as she is spoken by Hungarians. This lingua franca allows us to access with more insight the self-confidence of such a family stubbornly refusing to give up their way of speaking, their way of thinking. The writer also provides us with sources on Hungarian cuisine and history. (Food is important in this novel).

This information does not distract us from the narrative, rather it involves us more, deepening and strengthening our understanding of lives lived - even to the present generation - on the rich margins of so-called British culture. Our cities are enriched by generations of man ‘almost English’. I am ‘almost English’ myself, my family having been extracted from Wales two generations ago.

This book is a great read:


Marina, the sixteen year old at the centre of this story, is clearly English. Her mother is English. And her grandmother and great aunts are clearly and proudly not English and still an intrinsic part of the cosmopolitan nexus that is London, that most English of cities. This writer expresses the comedy and the subtly hidden tragedies of this cultural paradox.

Coming from the complex institution of this Almost English family Marina finds herself in the ultra-English institution of the English Public School with its own arcane rituals, meanings and dark areas. What happens when Marina and her mother Laura deal with this paradox is at the core of this novel.

My comments here might make this novel somewhat earnest. Nothing is further from the truth. This writer’s accessible style, her great prose, her fluid storytelling, her intricate humour and the meticulous attention to colourful detail makes this a great novel.

Those women in prison would have relished this novel, with their experience of negotiating lives as outsiders, inside and outside prison.

It makes me think that Almost English should have won the Booker prize just as When We Were Bad should have won the Orange Prize.

Ah, well.  Almost there. Perhaps the next novel?


After-note:  I wrote a novel called Paulie’s Web. inspired by my prison experiences.  It might appeal. 

Friday, 22 April 2016

The Importance of Books: My List

I’ve just made a list of books I've read in the last year.  


Stephen King, in his seminal book On Writing declares how important it is for anyone who aspires to write that they should read. A lot.

We should read all kinds of stuff – deep, shallow, funny, serious,

tragic comedic. Stephen King lists the great number of books he had read in a year. Interestingly he includes in the list the many books he has read in audio form. For some people – not me- this might be seen as kind of cheating, an  easy way.


But I have this friend who consumes books on audio every single day while he is working at more manual tasks. He points out that with an audio book you listen to every word. You don’t skip. Every word counts. As it should.

I once gave a talk to a reading group for people of all ages who were sight-impaired. The discussion was vigorous and interesting . These readers had an unsurpassed grasp on the detail, the characterisation and the narrative of the novels we were discussing – all read on Audio Books.

And, like audio books, reading on Kindle, Tablets and Phones is sadly sniffed at in some quarters. And yet, my inside source tells me the 46% of books are read in this form. Thank God they do. Some of those are my books and perhaps yours.

It’s been my lifetime delight to curl up with a good book, seduced by the smell and feel of new paper and the sight of great prose. But now as well as this I also love listening to stories on my iPod, and racing through novels and research sources on Kindle and on the internet. So the modern way works brilliantly for this reader and writer.

So this is why this morning I made a list of the books I’ve read in the last year. I’ve read them all with appreciation and enjoyment. It’s not been intentional but probably my list signifies my preoccupations as a writer as well as a reader. Perhaps your book is there! On my list there is – as there should be – lots of fiction there as well as sources of information and research for my new and my  earlier book. The books  range from the serious to the light hearted, the trivial to the serious, from the poetic to the informative.


Do you have your own list? Let me have it with a 50 word bio. and I’ll post it here on Life Twice Tasted.


So anyway – here’s my list:

  1. Sometimes a River Song  Avril Joy
  2. Phantom Notes Brian  Turner
  3. Partners  John Grisham
  4. Bonjour Darling  Heather Francis
  5. The Last American Martyr  Tom Winton
  6. Wake  Anna Hope
  7. The Ballroom  Anna Hope
  8. The Dark is Rising  Susan Cooper
  9. A Murder of No Account  Julia Underwood
  10. Twin Piques  Tracie Bannister
  11. The Story Sisters Alice Hoffman
  12. Solem  Clive Johnson
  13. Hadrians Wall Path Walking into History: Jane V Blanchard 
  14. Decide Where to Go  Eileen Elgey
  15. Lazy France in Marseillan Laurence Phillips.
  16. Noonday  Pat Barker
  17. One of Ours  Willa Cather
  18. Parades End  Ford Maddox Ford
  19. Five Children on the Western Front  Kate Saunders
  20. Plainsong  Kent Haruf
  21. The Last Ballad  Helen Cannam
  22. Ill Met by Moonlight  W Stanley Moss
  23. Night Soldiers  Alan Furst
  24. The White Venus  Rupert Colley
  25. The Last Englishman  H.L.Carr  Byron Rogers
  26. The Lost Guide to Life and Love Sharon Griffiths
  27. Mushrooms .Collins Gem
  28. Dip  Andrew Fusek Peters
  29. Zone of interest  Martin Amis
  30. The Diary od Adam and Eve Mark Twain  
  31. The Risk of Reading:  How literature helps us understand ourselves and the world.  Robert Waxler
  32. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase  Joan Aiken
  33. New Grub Street  George Gissing
  34. Wild Swim  Kate Rew
  35. Swimming Home  Debora Levy
  36. A Month in the Country  H.L. Carr.
  37. Waterlog   Roger Deakin
  38. 12 Years a Slave  Soloman Northup
  39. A King in Yellow  H.P.Lovecraft
  40. The City and the City   China Miéville
  41. The Judas Goat  Robert P Parkerf
  42. The Last Iceberg Anne Ousby
  43. Jamaica Inn  Daphne du Maurier
  44. The Centauress  Kathleen Jones
  45. Death at the Castello   Erica Yeoman
  46. Ring of Clay  Margaret Kaine
  47. The Book Thief  Markus Zusak
  48. The Blackbird House Alice Hoffman
  49. Robert Graves: Life on the Edge   Miranda Seymout
  50. On Writing: a member of the craft   Stephen King
  51. The Secret Life of Bees   Sue Monk Kidd
  52. The Birds and Other Stories  Daphne du Maurier
  53. Dear Life ( Short stories) Alice Munro
  54. How Fiction Works   James Wood
  55. It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again Julia Cameron 
  56. The Avenue A Newcastle Backstreet Boyhood        Samuel W Herbert


  
  

It took  a hundred books to

research The Pathfinder


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