The Book of Trespass

Thought this looked interesting on the shelf so I took a punt on it. Essentially this book is about land. More specifically, the author has stumbled upon the surprisingly interesting subject of who owns the land and who has access to it in the UK. The answer is not that many to both questions, at least as far as he is concerned. 

Having read his book, I am inclined to agree with him. I say he has stumbled across the topic but clearly this is a life long passion of his. He is clearly an outdoors type with clear sympathies with all manner of protest groups to the extent that you can almost smell the mustiness coming from the pages. I don’t mean that in a bad way. The book is exceptionally well researched and referenced. The legal research he must have had to look into would not have been for me. 

It is quite incredible how little land we as the public have access to. It becomes ever more heartbreaking when one considers what our landscape used to look like before we swarmed across it and that the last bastions of the wild are now the trophies of only a very exclusive few. It reminds me that we live in a very unequal society. The last page of the book made me almost tear up. 

It would be interesting to hear a balancing reply from the land owning perspective. In some ways this book was superbly and eloquently argued and yet I can’t help but think he lets himself down when he admits at least on 2 occasions to trespassing on properties in order to take class A drugs. This book needs to be taken seriously and that was perhaps a mis-step. Nevertheless, a powerful piece of writing and deserves to be listened to. Whether it will be or not is another matter. 


I bought this having read her other book Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell only very recently. 

This one is as short as her first book is long. However, it is just as unique. An unbelievably imaginative story that is beautifully written and will keep you enthralled all the way through. There was a magical quality to the book that I can’t put my finger on but it seemed to lighten the soul whenever I delved into it. I really can’t explain it. A real rare talent. 

There’s no point me going into the story as it’s all just very fantastical but it is is both melancholy and uplifting all at the same time. No wonder it’s won awards.

Eight Detectives

As you will see from the sticker, this was a buy one get one half price. I was forced into buying this with three other books by the checkout lady as this would ‘effectively be free’. 

I’m always wary of impulse buys but this was actually quite good. Another original concept in that it essentially takes the form of 8 short stories, each of which is a short murder mystery. Rather than a collection of very good short murder mystery stories, it tries to tie them together. The suspense that keeps you reading is how the author might do this. The ending doesn’t quite live up to the suspense it builds, not quite as clever as you imagine it might be. As such it won’t be a real classic but that’s not taking away from the fact that it is very nicely and concisely and confidently written. And it is quite clever in places. Worth a read. 


This was recommended to me, so I thought I should read it. It turned out to be very interesting. The author goes into all sorts of detail about breathing techniques, ancient and modern, all the while threading it together with his own experiment – for a week he breathes just through his mouth and another just through his nose. As might be expected, he feels rubbish after breathing just through the mouth but much better after the nose week. Sorry if I’ve ruined it for you there. 

The science seems well researched – although there is always that nagging feeling things have been cherry picked a bit – and there is some interesting stuff about the developed of our jaws etc but the take home message is fairly simplistic. Breathing is good for you and doing it through the nose is a bit better. An enjoyable read, accessible and interesting. 

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell

I can’t remember how I came to buy this book. Subsequently I have seen it numerous times on lists of modern classics and the best books of the last couple of decades. I realise now this is for good reason. 

This book is quite unlike any other I have read and yet is superb. It’s a long one (4x standard book length I’d say) but it never felt as if it was going on. In fact, although I wasn’t willing it to go on any longer, I was also not willing it to finish any sooner. It was perfectly balanced and the writing was so smooth and a pleasure to read. Her style is, without the reader really noticing it, somehow effortless. Not a sentence out of place and every word counts. It would be a good one for aspiring fiction writers to study I suspect. 

The world she manages to build over this epic is wonderful and all encompassing. Whenever I sat down to read this, I was entering the world – escapism as it should be done. I am aware that there was a tv adaptation of this but I don’t think I’ll watch it. Invariably these shatter the impressions already perfectly created by the words. 

One from the very top drawer this one. 


Love Miles Jupp. Love history. Love History. 

This was a scenic walk of a book. Lighthearted, funny, (twice quite literally lough out loud), and also very perceptive. In short exactly what one might imagine a book by Miles Jupp about a history teacher at a private school in Wiltshire would be like. I would thoroughly recommend this. 



The Haunting of Alma Fielding

I read the Suspicions of Mr Whicher some time ago and really enjoyed it so I thought I would give this one a go. I like my ghost stories too. This was not as good as the former I’m afraid but it did still have it’s moments. Quite an interesting exploration of the early last Century subculture of seances and poltergeists etc. Similar in a way to the podcast ‘the Battersea Poltergeist’ which I have subsequently listened to. It’s all good fun and there are some snippets of interesting history there but otherwise a bit shallow in substance. 

On the Road

This is one of those that they say everyone should read. Clearly made a big impact when it was first released but a different time perhaps. For me, it was a bit of a slog. I didn’t really enjoy it that much. Frenetic and disordered for much of it, and it didn’t really grab me. Perhaps I’ve missed the point a bit but to say it was amazing would be a bit pretentious of me. Cool picture on the cover though in the edition I had and was a smaller sized pocket version so it made me feel a bit like a giant. 

The Appeal

This was one of my impulse buys. These are always risky but in this case, I was pleasantly surprised. An unusual format here, with the story being told through the emails, texts and letters of all the characters, leaving you to try and figure out the mystery towards the end. Well written and original. Perhaps went on a bit but otherwise, I enjoyed it.