Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Five things because I need to blog

1.     I’ve read two of my Christmas books.  The first one was an intriguing, though flawed, thriller called ‘Magpie Murders’ by Anthony Horowitz.  Tim Lott recently said in the Guardian that ‘literary fiction’, by which he meant posh novels as opposed to common ones, had lost the plot, and I sympathise with his point – I’ve tried to read some posh novels in recent years that disappeared up their own introspection – but I’m not sure where the genre boundaries are any more.  I reckon Horowitz would, if forced to classify, call his work ‘literary’; but a shortage of plot is not one of its failings.

2.     The next book was about growing, processing, storing and burning wood in Norway.  It’s informative, gripping and often hilarious – a classic example of writing quality transcending subject matter, in a way the opposite of point 1, I suppose.

3.     However, I now know more than I really need to about Norwegian chainsaws.

4.     However, if you are felling a tree for fuel, it’s a good idea to do it in the spring, when the leaves have set, and don’t take them off until the autumn.  They will continue to grow (not knowing that there aren’t any roots any more) and so extract moisture from the trunk, drying the latter that much faster for burning.

5.     The third book is ‘Islander’ by Patrick Barkham.  I’ll let you know how it goes.  We’re starting in the Isle of Man.


  1. Mr Horowitz adapted Midsomer Murders from the original book so he should also know all about chainsaws. I think Mr Barkham should have started with the Isle of Dogs. Anyway, I'll get my coat ....

  2. Seriously though, pretentious posh novels destroyed my obsessive reading habit. The last straw was Chesil Beach. Does Portland Bill count as an island, by the way? Or is it an isthmus? If not, what is an isthmus?

  3. An isthmus is where you get Scottish Tarberts.
    I sea Islanders visits two of my favourites: Barra and St Martins. I think that book must go on my Christmas present list.