My entirely non-radical reading list


This is probably unspeakably tiresome, so don’t feel obliged… It’s a list of the books in my to-read pile. It’s overwhelmingly dead, white, European – in fact English – males, and this bothers me.

  • The Cinque Ports, a Historical and Descriptive RecordFord Madox Ford
  • Return To Yesterday – Ford Madox Ford (now)
  • The Way of all Flesh – Samuel Butler
  • A High Wind in Jamaica – Richard Hughes
  • Twilight of the Gods and Other Tales– Richard Garnett
  • Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
  • The Invention of Nature: How Alexander Von Humboldt Revolutionized Our World –  Andrea Wulf
  • A month in the country –  JL Carr
  • The Journal of a Disappointed Man – WMP Barbellion (next?)
  • Hot Water – PG Wodehouse (done)
  • The Habsburg Monarchy 1809-1918 – AJP Taylor
  • The Red House Mystery – AA Milne
  • The Parthenon – Mary Beard
  • In a Class of Their Own: A History of English Amateur Football – Terry Morris (done) My Amazon review here

-There’s some quite demanding stuff here so I’ll have to leaven it with some Terry Pratchett and some Milligan, who are sadly also DWEMs.

-It’s about time I reread To The Lighthouse and Scenes of Clerical Life, so DWEW get a foot in the door.

-I haven’t read any Wilkie Collins for a while either. Dickens is covered for now as I’ve got Little Dorrit on audiobook, beautifully read by Mil Nicholson.


-Additionally I’ve got about 20 books on my A****n Wish List, none of which are shown above, so I’d be immensely grateful if #Bookshambles, @backlistedpod and others would lay off telling me about great new stuff and just recommend things I’ve already read for a few months if that’s OK.

-Of course if Gotham Season 2 comes on Netflix soon, if Hastings United make a serious promotion bid or if I just come over all anti-intellectual I’ll only be able to manage reading Angry People In Local Newspapers When Saturday Comes. but that’s OK too.

-A good thriller. Someone recommend me a good thriller.

PS I had the great pleasure of briefly meeting Alan Judd on the train on Monday. Mr Judd wrote this biography of Ford Madox Ford , which he’ll be delighted to know I instantly ordered when I got home. He’ll be less delighted when I say that I bought it 2nd hand for 1p + p&p.

That book I bought.

This I suppose is the usual “Real Books v E-Books” thing, which tends to send even Mrs Trellis back to her “Heat” magazine with the vapours.

We went to a second-hand book sale in a church hall a couple of weeks ago. Clearly having “No Books At All”  in the house made this an important mission.

I picked up this book, identifying it as possibly interesting, unlikely to exist on Amazon and a nice book to hold. It’s call “Men Women And Books” by Leigh Hunt. (There’s a big piece on him in Wikipedia). It’s a collection of essays, journalism and short fiction and was first published in 1847.


A Selection Of







My edition came out in 1943 and was published by “Live Books Resurrected” about whom I know nothing. A scanned reprint  of Volume One only is available for silly money from My copy has both volumes.

It was printed in the War to strict economy standards.


What this means is that it is printed on inexpensive paper and follows quite complex rules about words per page, margins etc. In practice what I have is a hardback book which is certainly more utilitarian in appearance than we’re used to today, but there’s this: the standard of proofreading & editing is miles beyond that of many modern books. I’m about half-way through and there’s not a single typesetting or spelling error, and I suspect the publishers & printers would have been very embarrassed if any were to be found, wartime or not.

It was originally given as a gift to one Mary Barnes by her Grandfather:

Hand-written dedication

Some handwriting!

I hope Mary Barnes enjoyed it. (I don’t suppose there’s the slightest chance that it was this Mary Barnes? No, I doubt it. The dates are OK but I’ve got nothing else).

How much less fun than this would have been a Kindle edition.

Thanks to the person who donated it at the Church Hall, who perhaps was a child or grandchild of Mary Barnes. I’ll look after it!