This page is for anything I have found intriguing or valuable. It might be new books I have just read , or old ones returned to; or websites or blogs which I have helpful or worth while.
You are Here: a Portable History of the Universe
by Christopher Potter
This is a dazzling account of the universe in all its manifestations – from nothing to everything. Christopher Potter was my own beloved editor and publisher before he left publishing to write himself. What the world has lost in a great publisher it has gained in a great expositor. Christopher's lucid prose makes the most mind-stretching matters feel comprehendible. The book is also a philosophical muse about consciousness, a subject of perennial fascination for me and one I have often discussed with Christopher.
Christopher Potters website www.christopherpotter.com
Why Victorian Literature Still Matters
by Philip Davis
I loved this book which took me back to several old favourites (such as George MacDonald and Mrs Oliphant) and introduced me to several unknowns. Philip Davis writes brilliantly and profoundly about the Victorian fascination with the in between – a subject which I try to write of in my own novels. It is another book about consciousness and deserves to be widely read by all who feel serious reading matters and is also enthralling.
Philip Davis’s wife Jane Davis runs the Reader Organisation and he edits the excellent Reader Magazine, which seeks to encourage attentive reading as a means of personal development.
Madame Pamplemousse and The Time Travelling café
by Rupert Kingfisher
I’d better own that this sequel to popular Madame Pamplemousse and Her Incredible Edibles, is written by my son. But even so, I admire the books’ apt and witty psychology. Rupert and his brother wrote cartoon books from a very early age. He is very good on the subtle power relations between people. Camembert the one-eyed cat is in a time honoured tradition of shrewd animal familiars.
by Adam Phillips and Barbara Taylor
Adam Phillips is always worth reading for his refusal to let received opinion lie unchallenged. Kindness is a subject very close to my heart and another of the themes which runs through my novels. As the authors convincingly argue, kindness has nothing to do with sentimentality and everything to do with the willingness to engage fully with otherness – a vital virtue and increasingly crucial in our perturbed times.
Rowan Williams also writes about otherness and is another of my very favourite writers. I am including this book as for some reason it is out of print and I want people to harass the publishers to reprint it. Rowan Williams makes a typically thoughtful and convincingly argued case against the materialism of the modern world. Written before he was anointed Archbishop of Canterbury, and also before the recent financial disasters, it deserves to be have been wider read.