The Lost Letters of William Woolf by Helen Cullen

The Lost Letters of William Woolf: The most uplifting and charming debut of the year

The Lost Letters of William Woolf: The most uplifting and charming debut of the year by Helen Cullen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Love a book playlist. More than I love a map at the front of a book. The Lost Letters of William Woolf has a playlist. A playlist I have spent an evening compiling on Apple Music. Still listening to The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce playlist from a few months ago! I’d like to think that Cullen’s book has produced a million suitors writing to vague, unknown addressees that are then ending up on a post office administration desk for a romantic member of staff to sort out. Might just Google the possibility. If you are an eternal optimist then read this!

View all my reviews

Reading on the Railways

‘Some powerful accounts of the coming of the railways are to be found in English novels, but the railways also shaped the development of fiction in material ways. W H Smith and Sons developed on railway concourses (the first outlet was opened at Euston in 1848), selling cheaply priced novels. The firm sponsored two shilling reprints of successful novels. Special ‘railway editions’ were marketed by other publishers for reading on trains – notably George Routledge’s ‘Railway library’ of one shilling reprints. Novel reading and rail travel became closely connected. As the railway network grew, so did W H Smith’s bookselling business: by the end of the century it had well over 1000 station bookstalls.’

And reading a book on a train when it’s raining outside just feels so cosy.

Sonnet 116 by William Shakespere

Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Admit impediments. Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove:

O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,

That looks on tempests and is never shaken;

It is the star to every wandering bark,

Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.

Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

Within his bending sickle’s compass come;

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,

But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

     If this be error and upon me proved,

     I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Sonnet 116 is one of William Shakespeare’s most well known and it states that love is constant and remains true regardless of the changes that time might bring.


Normal People by Sally Rooney

Normal People

Normal People by Sally Rooney

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A dark love story. Unpleasant or a turn on? Connell felt a bit of a sap, a tad gutless. Marianne? Not sure whether I liked her or not. Whether to feel sorry for her the way she didn’t really fit in, or admire her independence and containment. Was her submissiveness sad and distasteful? A result of her childhood treatment by her brother? Or did she really enjoy it? Was it normal for her? Are Connell and Marianne normal? Are their lives normal? Normal for some, weird for others? At least I managed to stay the distance and quite enjoy a Man Booker contender.

View all my reviews

Cycling to Pevensey

One of my favourite cycle rides is to Pevensey in East Sussex. Along the coastal path there are a few of these:

Martello towers, small defensive forts built around the time of the Napoleonic wars, can be found all along the South Coast. They stand up to 12m high and generally had a garrison of one officer and 15–25 men. Their round structure and thick walls of solid masonry made them resistant to cannon fire.

Turning off the sea path is the Bay View Park a fantastic holiday homes and camp site right on the beach:

Eastbourne has a thriving fishing industry: and cycling back through Sovereign harbour the fishing boats were moored up for the night: