5 Reasons Cormac McCarthy’s The Road Should Be Taught In Schools

I’ve just read a rather good post on why schools should teach Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and thoroughly agree. The Road is a beautifully poetic and challenging book, exactly the kind of thing teenagers should be reading to help them to think about what is important in their lives.

Lucas Flanagan wrote the piece on the What Culture blog and you can read the post what culture and you can read my review of The Road the road review

Mortal Airships

I’m currently reading the wonderful Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve to the boy. He’s completely immersed in it, loves the fast pace of the story and the incredibly rich world that Reeve has created for his characters. You can read my review of this book on this very bolg, just click here. However the boy was having trouble visualising the airships that feature in it so I drew him one.
He was rather underwhelmed by my attempt. Kids eh?

My stab at the Jenny Haniver.

We’re All InThis Together.

Poetry From the West Midlands.

Tomorrow night, Friday the 19th October at 7:30 in the Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Wolverhampton, I shall be helping to launch the latest book from Offa’s Press.

West Midlands finest.

We’re All In This Together is a fine collection of poetry from writers across the Midlands with an environmental theme. I have two rather lovely poems in the book, which I shall be reading and I’ll be joined by a host of writing talent from across the region. Speakers include Michael W Thomas, Emma  Purshouse, Marion Cockin, Iris Rhodes, Ramesh Gaat and Romalyn Ante.

As well as this aural treat we also have Linda  Nevill a printmaker. Linda has designed the cover and will be  exhibiting some of the other designs submitted for the cover in a pop-up  exhibition at the gallery.

There will be light refreshments and copies of the book to purchase. Get the weekend off to a great start and come down.

Review: The Peculiar Memories Of Thomas Penman

The Peculiar Memories Of Thomas Penman
The Peculiar Memories Of Thomas Penman by Bruce Robinson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Most people will know Bruce Robinson from his brilliant script and direction of the film ‘Withnail and I’ and that is what first drew me to this book. I wasn’t sure what to expect as film is so different from a novel but I needn’t have worried. Robinson is a huge Dickens fan with the book set in the seaside town of Broadstairs, where Dickens wrote Bleak House, and the novel bearing many Dickensian themes, however it isn’t just a homage to his favourite author. Robinson has a clear and original voice all of his own and creates an intriguing world of hidden turds, Edwardian pornography and home made explosives. I was enthralled by this bizarre, dysfunctional family and young Thomas who tries to make sense of it all. The house they live in is almost a character in its own right and is so expertly drawn by Robinson that I can still smell the dog meat boiling on the stove. I’ve put it as one of my top ten on my World Book Night list because it just has to be read by a wider audience. Get a copy and lose yourself in the world of Thomas Penman.

View all my reviews

Reading Challenge Update

I’ve just completed the first of my six books for my summer reading challenge. Inspired by the Reading Agency’s challenge to borrow and read six books from your local library I identified six from my own bookshelves that I’d not read yet. I know I should be getting books from the library but I now have a whole book case of books that are on my ‘to read’ list so it made more sense for me to get stuck into them.


The first book I read was Steve Claridge’s (with help from Ian Riley) Tales from the boot camps. I’ll be honest it’s not a great book but as a Blues supporter and a huge fan of Mr Claridge I just couldn’t resist it. I’ll post a full review later but for now I need to choose my next book.

Ok. That didn’t take long. My next book will be Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman.


You can find out more about the summer reading challenge here.

Reading Challenge

The Reading Agency has set a challenge to the young readers of the UK. The aim is for people to read six books, borrowed from their local library, this summer. The library will record how well the reader is doing and the more books they read the further they progress through the challenge from bronze to silver to gold. More information regarding this can be found here

I thought I’d give it a go myself with a selection of the many unread books on my ‘to read’ shelf so I’ve picked out these six.


I’ve already read The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith this summer so I’m looking forward to getting stuck into some of her short stories. Being a Blues fan ( that’s Birmingham City not any of the other pretenders to that title ) I couldn’t resist Tales from the Boot Camps by Steve Claridge when I saw it in a charity shop in Wales. Girlfriend In A Coma was in the same shop. I’ve read a couple of Coupland novels in the past and enjoyed them so I’m hoping this is as good. Continental Drifter was picked up in Buxton over a year ago, there’s high praise all over the cover and it’s been a while since I read any decent travel writing. Pigeon English sounds just like my kind of thing, gritty, urban and short listed for the Guardian First Book Award in 2011. That just leaves The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet by David Mitchell. I’m a big fan of Mitchell despite the fact that whenever I read his stuff I feel like chucking it all in, as a writer, I’m not suicidal, honest. Mitchell is just so brave, imaginative and confident that I know it’s going to be something I’ll love.

So there you go. Six books for the summer, I’ve also got a couple of poetry books on the go as well but I tend to dip in and out of those so I’ve not included them. I’ll let you all know how I get on and maybe you could let me know what you’ll be reading this summer?