The murder of books…

In the Guardian, Linda Grant confesses to having “murdered” her library saying, among much else:-

“I no longer need to impress male visitors with the depth of my reading. So what is the nature of this library; what function does it serve other than being a filing system for books?”

Wow! Really? That is not the attitude of a true book lover.

Continue reading

Pedantry, foodie ramblings, and video-blogging…

Last night, I did something in bed that I’ve not done before (OK – you can stop that right now!) – I bought a Kindle book via my phone being, as I was, bored and plagued by insomnia and, at that point, not yet had my cottage cheese.

The book I got was The Pedant in the Kitchen, by Julian Barnes, in which Barnes, clearly not a natural cook (which he freely admits), bemoans – among much else – vagueness by chefs who have the temerity to write cookery books. How very dare they! Winking smile

Now my view, as I’ve said in these pages, is that it’s not the job of a cook-book writer to lead you by the hand through Cookery 101. It’s perfectly reasonable for a professional chef to expect someone who buys their books(s) to have, at least, mastered the basic techniques.

Continue reading

On depression, food, and how the end of the world is NOT coming!

On Twitter, @ME_forME, who describes herself as “Just a girl raising awareness for the neuro-immune disease Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME)”, posed the question “ME patients…wondering what your plans are for Christmas. Will you be able to join in and if not how does that make you feel?”.

To which I responded, as I’ve said here, that I’d cancelled Christmas some years ago, and as a result remain stress-free. That, for the most part, is perfectly true, but the human organism is nothing if not perverse, and the depression that has laid waste to far too many Christmases in the past 20-odd years – leading to its cancellation – seems to have decided to sneak up and bite me in the arse again this year. Doubtless because Continue reading

If you have a Kindle, Amazon are NOT out to get you…

You could be forgiven, this morning, for thinking that Amazon are going to come for you in the night, strip your Kindle bare and terminate your account, with no redress, such is the high degree of panic-mongering going on in articles like this one.

The fact is that the foregoing has happened to one person, and no-one pontificating about it has the full facts of the matter.** Nor do I, but then, I’m not about to predict the end of the ebook world or brand Amazon as some sort of electronic stormtroopers. What I will say is this, a huge amount Continue reading

Kindle and the Death of Books…

Ever since the Kindle 3 appeared – I got mine in the first tranche, so I’ve been particularly sensitive to this – the Guardian has been running articles, of varying levels of sanity, speculating on whether the Kindle – ignoring all other similar devices (yes I know the Kindle is the biggie in this market, but it’s not alone) – is going to destroy the book-publishing industry, make books obsolete, diminish reading standards (most recently, and WTF?), or any other crackpot theme they can dream up. Mainly, though, they are obsessed with the Death of Books.

Obviously, I can’t speak for Continue reading

As with Mark Twain, reports of the death of books are greatly exaggerated…

For openers, this article is a pleasant change from the Guardian’s “death of books imminent” hysteria/paranoia. (A shortened version of this post appears in the Comments there.)


Since I bought my Kindle in the first tranche of releases last year, I’ve probably bought more print books, not fewer – quite the opposite of what I expected or wanted (I’m running out of book space).

Partly this is in rebellion against some of the Continue reading

What I’m reading right now – part of an occasional series…

All on my Kindle. Currently I have nothing on paper to be read, which was the idea since, as I’ve said, I’m running out of book space. I’ve always read a lot but, since getting the Kindle, I seem to be reading a lot more than I have been in recent years, and the think might have been designed expressly for reading in bed.

The Mighty Dead, by William Gault, the title is from James Thomson’s The Seasons (1730). Set, oh, about now, I suppose, as it was written in the 50s, and posits the rise to power of a semi-literate US senator who successfully gets a bill pushed through banning any form of reading, writing, printing and publishing, on the grounds that it disturbed people, spread dissent and variously undermined society (and, of course, showed him in a very poor light).

The tale centres on a Continue reading

The Campaign for Real Books…

There is now, almost inevitably, given the huge uptake of the Amazon Kindle, a Campaign for Real Books (Cambo).

The Cambo website says “The future is paper.” And that’s really the problem with books – paper.

As I’ve said before, books in bulk take up a hell of a lot of space, but apart from that, paper is just so ecologically unsound these days. I love the feel, and smell, of a new, unopened book, but I don’t think, in the long term, paper is sustainable. Ebooks are.

Cambo also says Continue reading