Posted by: billpurdue | March 6, 2008

First edition



I’m Bill Purdue, Welcome to my new book blog. In this regular blog I want to tell you about some of the books I’ve read, some of the books I want to read and some of the books people tell me are worth reading as well as what to look out for in the coming months. But I’d also like to hear from you – if you enjoy reading and want to tell others about the books you’ve read or want to know if a book is worth buying, or say what you think  about books and reading, just post a comment on the blog. I want to cover most types of books, both fiction and non-fiction, but don’t get the idea that I read everything that’s mentioned in this blog. Nor do I want to tell you what to read, but I DO want to know what you like reading and what you might recommend to others.

I’ll tell you one thing though – I’m no intellectual, so you won’t find a review of War and Peace here, unless you give me a couple of years to read it first. No, there’ll be no detailed in depth reviews – just a bit about what I like,what you tell me you like, books to look out for and what’s going on in the world of books and reading

Before we begin, a note about the numbers in brackets which you’ll find scattered throughout this blog. The numbers refer to the publishing details, which you can find at the end of the blog, in case you’d like to buy the book or get it from the library.

 What I’ve been reading

I’ve always been a fan of Alan Bennett – best known perhaps for his drama and screenplays, rather than novels. I thought his latest play  The History Boys was one of his best ever. For my birthday I was given Alan Bennett’s The Uncommon Reader (1) and thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s perhaps an appropriate book to begin this blog as it tells how The Queen discovers the joys of reading after she notices the mobile library parked in the palace grounds. Reading takes over so much of her time that she neglects some of her public duties, so her equerries try to curb the Queen’s new enthusiasm. A great book (and still in the bestseller lists), though I have to say I was a little disappointed with the ending. Have you read it? If so, do you agree?

I haven’t finished reading Never Push when it says Pull by Guy Browning (2), a collection of short pieces which have appeared in the Guardian “Weekend” magazine. To quote the blurb, it’s a collection of “small rules for the little problems in life….such as how to share a romantic bath while avoiding the taps” or “how to give clear instructions to a place you’ve never heard of”. I love humour and this is right up my street, though I wouldn’t say that it’s consistently funny throughout, but there are lots of gems, such as “How to..Shop” and “How to… drive a [shopping] trolley”


For the kids

 Now for something for younger readers and just  as funny, but in a different way.  Chewy, Gooey, Rumble, Plop!: A Deliciously Disgusting Plop-Up Guide to the Digestive System by Steve Alton and Nick Sharratt (3) does just what it says on the cover. In fact the cover is as interesting as the contents – it’s a triumph of paper engineering. The cover is very thick and embedded in it is a very realistic looking tongue – just touch it and you’ll see what I mean! With a cover like that you can’t resist turning the pages and finding out how the digestive system works courtesy of some ingeniously designed pop-ups. Lots of giggles for children of all ages (including me) and just right for biology in Key Stages 1 and 2. 

Look out for… If you’re a fan of the “Coast” TV programmes on the BBC, you might be interested in a new book in the “Coast” series, due out this month. Coast: the Walks (4) is designed to encourage us to get out and see for ourselves some of the scenery we’ve seen on the “Coast” programmes. It contains over 50 walks from afternoon strolls to strenuous hikes and covers both Great Britain and Ireland. Perhaps there’s too much variety for you: I’ll reserve my judgment until I get to see the book. 

Before I go… Voting at the Bookseller magazine is now in full swing for the Oddest Book Title of the Year prize. My favourite is I was Tortured by the Pygmy Love Queen  

Next time.. National year of Reading 2008 – how is it shaping up ?Something for crime fans – Cornwell, Rankin and others…….and perhaps a bit of nostalgia. 


1 Alan Bennett. The Uncommon Reader  Faber £10.99  9781846680496 

2 Guy Browning  Never Push when it says Pull Atlantic Books £9.99 1843544733

 3 Nick Sharratt and Steve Alton   The gooey, chewy, rumble, plop book. Bodley Head Children’s Books  £9.99  9780370329147 4 Coast: the Walks  BBC Books £16.99 9781846073557 March 2008.  

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