Featherston Booktown Festival

What is a booktown, you may well ask? Alex Johnson in his book Book Towns: Forty-five Paradises of the Printed Word defines it as “simply a small town, usually rural and scenic, full of bookshops and book-related industries.” The most well-known booktowns are Hay-on-Wye in Wales and Wigtown in Scotland (the location of Shaun Bythell’s... Continue Reading →

Flash Fiction

I’ve been bereft at the sudden closure of the Wellington Central Library last month. I used to go there two or three times a week but now I have to check the opening hours of another branch and get in my car – so I haven’t bothered. I thought I would make a dent in... Continue Reading →

Best Books 2018

I read exactly 100 books last year which is probably a record for me. An update of the statistics from my first blog post: Half of the fiction books I read were historical fiction. This year included more New Zealand authors, and more biographies and memoirs. I tried to get back into reading more short... Continue Reading →

Bibliomania: Wellington Bookshops

Starting with the annual DCM book fair I’ve been on a bit of a book-buying binge lately, so for dedicated bibliophiles here is a miscellany of new and second-hand bookstores in and around central Wellington. Conveniently, my two favourite bookshops (Unity and Arty Bees) both have a bus stop right outside. Unity Books Unity Books... Continue Reading →

Trapeze: A Visual Spectacle?

  Watching my daughter’s video of the recent P!nk concert in Auckland, the breath-taking thrill for both performer and audience of P!nk soaring at speed above the crowd was obvious. Something that’s easier to capture on film than in words, but following on from my previous post about 19th-century aerialists here are some books that... Continue Reading →

Six Books about Ballooning

While I was writing and researching The Aerial Queen I read quite a few books about ballooning because I reasoned that if I read enough books, then there was no need to take an actual balloon flight was there? Here are some of my favourites: Enduring Love (Ian McEwen): Who can forget the horror of... Continue Reading →

Listicles: Best books

I’m a sucker for end of year lists – making order out of chaos, taking stock, did I miss something? For the last six years, I’ve kept a notebook of the books I’ve read, with a short summary on each. Last year I wasn’t very motivated to write them up and may have forgotten a... Continue Reading →

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