Why as an author you shouldn’t use a Goodreads’ ‘Giveaway’…

As a member of Goodreads.com – and therefore a “Goodreads author” – I have indulged in their ‘Giveaway’ scheme twice now. The premise is simple: you fund 100 copies of your e-book and Goodreads runs a lottery on your behalf where members can apply for a copy which, if they are selected at random, they… Read More Why as an author you shouldn’t use a Goodreads’ ‘Giveaway’…

“The Offing”

I really liked Benjamin Myers’ “The Offing”. It’s a gentle, inoffensive coming-of-age tale; romantic with a small ‘r’. Like most things, “The Offing” is far from perfect: perhaps it tries a little too hard early on before it gets into the swing of itself; and most sixteen-year-olds simply wouldn’t have the nouse to do some… Read More “The Offing”

The Impossible Readers

I am a registered Goodreads.com author. I had hoped that membership of Goodreads would allow my work to reach a wider audience. In support of this ambition – and possibly naïvely – I have twice indulged in Goodreads’ ‘giveaway’ promotions. The basic premise is that you offer 100 e-books to Goodreads members in what is… Read More The Impossible Readers


From its earliest origins in aural tradition, poetry has inevitably tracked the metamorphosis of language through time. You only have to reflect on the differences between Chaucer, Shakespeare, Wordsworth and Larkin to see how poetry maps not only the journey of a civilisation but its language and mores too. Perhaps poetry takes a little while… Read More “Homie”

“The Human Stain”

There is a section toward the end of Philip Roth’s “The Human Stain” where one of the book’s characters, Ernestine, confronts the author/narrator about her life and the life of her family, African-Americans from New Jersey. What follows from Ernestine/Roth seems to me – a white, non-American – a brilliant and powerful exposé of racism,… Read More “The Human Stain”

“Memory Wall”

Although I first came across Anthony Doerr through his novel “All the Light We Cannot See”, if you wanted a more subtle introduction then his collection of short stories then “Memory Wall” wouldn’t be a bad place to start. The stories are engaging and well-written, and you somehow feel ‘safe’ in Doerr’s hands. The subject… Read More “Memory Wall”

“Rules of Civility”

There’s an interesting debate about cross-sex writing, isn’t there? It seems to me the popular wisdom is that a man can’t write as a woman, but a woman can write as a man. No. That’s too simplistic. Perhaps is should be qualified: it’s easier for a woman to write as a first-person male narrator than… Read More “Rules of Civility”

“Solar Cruise”

Not for me, I’m afraid. I managed about a third of Claire Crowther’s “Solar Cruise”. Perhaps the subject – being so scientific – doesn’t lend itself to poetry; but I’m sure it isn’t just words like ‘nucleus’ or ‘electron’ which put the breaks on the poetic. The layout of some of the pieces – you… Read More “Solar Cruise”

“The Journalist”

In many ways, Harry Matthews “The Journalist” is a remarkable achievement. Having said that, I suspect three-quarters of people who start to read the book may not make it all the way through to the end… “The Journalist” is not about someone who writes for newspapers or appears on television, but rather a man who… Read More “The Journalist”

“Road Trip”

Sometimes volumes of poetry that focus on a single theme or issue seem to sacrifice the quality of the writing in favour of ‘the cause’. Marvin Thompson’s “Road Trip” is rooted in both place – Wales – and subject – being black in an essentially white environment – and succeeds by never making that sacrifice.… Read More “Road Trip”


In spite of myself I actually liked Will Harris’ “Rendang”. ‘In spite of myself’? Well, there’s a lot in this volume which I would challenge as being poetry; perhaps it’s prose poetry at best. Yet there is much that is poetic (if that’s not paradoxical), and the lyric quality of the pieces – thoughtful, reminiscence,… Read More “Rendang”