Books

There’s More Than One Way To Read A Book

Back in 2009 I interviewed my editor at Penguin Random House on the confusing subject of book sizes and shapes. Simon Taylor told me: ‘In the UK, the large size is generally referred to as B format. Trade paperbacks tend to be larger still – Royal octavo or Demy formats. But in the US they […]

Stealing From Libraries

Have you ever stolen a book from a library? Is there any circumstance where this is acceptable? We’ll get to that in a moment. First, some background. Libraries figured hugely in my childhood and teenage years, but I don’t suppose they feel as necessary in young lives now, certainly not in time-poor London. Taking two […]

What The Forgotten Authors Did Next

When ‘The Book of Forgotten Authors’ was heading to paperback, the editor and I realised that some changes would have to be made from the hardback; a year would have passed, and some of the authors were starting to get republished. Occasionally this was a direct consequence of the new attention the author was receiving, […]

Now With Extra Weirdness!

I hope you’ll forgive me for banging the drum about forgotten authors again this week, but the paperback came out a few days ago, now updated and with new material, and I feel I should do a spot of advertising. Regulars, stand down. So, in case you’re new here, this is my most recent non-fiction […]

A New ‘Forgotten Author’

Here it comes, on October 3rd – the snappy paperback version of ‘The Book of Forgotten Authors’. But the stories of 99 missing authors are now the stories of 100. I’ve revised the hardback, updating it with any publication changes that have happened in the one-year interim between the editions, and decided to add a […]

Bonkers New Books For Autumn

October, the time when all the weird books come out (including mine – more on that tomorrow). Last night the legendary Scala Cinema in King’s Cross rolled back the decades for the launch of my pal Jane Giles’s awesome Scala book, the definitive volume on this epoch-defining club/cinema/crazy space, covering everything from its punk years […]

Still Undecided About E-Books?

A couple of days ago the author Jake Arnott and I hung out for the day, to talk about books in more depth; most of us bump into each other at events in the UK and don’t get a chance to properly chew the fat. He surprised me by mentioning that he doesn’t read e-books. […]

Moving, Hilarious…And Forgotten

Norman Collins had the prime requirement for a writer; he was naturally interested in the daily lives of others. He was a populist and a bit of an ethnographer, but these days we remember him better for his other career, first running radio’s Light Programme (which had grown out of popular entertainment for the forces), […]

‘I Say, Look Here!’

You have to get past the language first. Then the attitudes of the times; servants are there to be berated, foreigners sniggered at, women to be divided into maiden aunts and popsies, men rated by their class. But once you strip away the ephemeral language you often find diamond-bright tales of deception. Martin Edwards is […]

Table of Contents

Short stories are easy to write. Good short stories are tricky. Great ones are all but impossible. They become poems where every word has to carry its weight, and I have yet to write one which satisfies me entirely. When it comes to read, you occasionally find a perfect tale. I own hundreds of short […]