I never realized how important reading was to me.  I always have three or four books on the go at once.  They are a useful source of entertainment and inspiration.  Here is what I am reading at the moment.


Cañas y barro by Vicente Blasco Ibáñez is another book I picked up at Barter Books in Alnwick.  Set in the rice paddies of Albufera de Valencia the story follows the hard and tragic lives of three generations of the Paloma family and their struggle to survive. Beautifully written and delightful to read.



For the past five years the poet Gordon Hodgeon has been confined to his bed. Following a series of unsuccessful operations on his spine, her is now unable to move his arms and legs, and cannot breath without the help of a ventilator. In the last few months he has lost the power of speech and now he can only communicate  with the outside world by blinking at a Dynavox computer screen. Yet he is able to create magnificent poetry, letter by letter.







I must have read some Biggles when I was a young lad though I don’t recall it. They are the kind of  books that a lad who went to the kind of school I went to would have been expected to read. Very dashing and daring. These are not the kind of books that I would normally read but to improve my Dutch I thought it would try something for a younger audience in the hope that the language is a little easier to pick up. I bought this from the fabulous Barter Books in Alnwick. If you have never been there then you are missing out. As for the book, my plan is not working that well so far. Early days.



New year, new books, two of them in fact. The festive period is one in which to get a good go and finish those books that have been hanging around. One of my New Year’s resolutions, I have made a few, is to learn more about behavioural economics and what better place to start than with Misbehaving by Richard H Thaler. I have read Nudge, another of his books. The sleeve promises that the book will be wildly disruptive. Here is hoping.



This is one of the most exciting books that I have ever read. The second new book of the year is a weighty tome. I have long wanted to read Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged yet at well over a thousand pages of small type face, it is going to take some doing. She considered the book to be her best work, it was also her last novel and covers issues of individualism, reason and objectivism. I am already over a hundred pages in filled with strong characters and a gripping plot. Happy new year!



MycountrySome books take for ever to get around to. I think I got this one several Christmases ago but in the dark evenings it is an escape to look at many of  the wonderful places there are to visit in England’s most northerly county. We are so lucky, in many ways to live here, with so much natural beauty and history to explore. There are loads of great ideas for when the days get longer and the weather hopefully gets a little warmer, even though it is in double figures today.  It is a signed copy no less.