Barney’s Novel Worth the Read

Just finished the excellent debut novel by Barney Norris.

‘Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain’ (Transworld) is set in and around Salisbury, Wilts, and is a very readable composition. Norris weaves together the lives of seemingly ordinary people – a flower-seller, a schoolboy, an army wife, a widower and a security guard. We see how each of them deals with their own very different tragedies – perhaps not so tragic in the great scheme of things – but vital to them as it moulds their lives.

It’s refreshing to see five separate, but interesting lives, gradually intertwine, albeit in unexpected ways. It’s not a heavy story and is certainly worth a re-read even if it’s only certain stories. Highly recommended and a great debut novel.


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Book Fair Names ‘Authors of the Day’

Two of the UK’s bestselling female writers – Joanna Trollope OBE and Dame Jacqueline Wilson OBE – will be spotlighted as part of this year’s Author of the Day programme. The two authors were announced today alongside David Baldacci, who will join the fair as a special guest.

Every year, the Author of the Day brings some of the most acclaimed, successful writers working today, showcasing their work and celebrating their achievements.

  • Tuesday 10th April: Joanna Trollope, General Trade Author of the Day
  • Wednesday 11th April: Mihkel Mutt (Estonia), Nora Ikstena (Latvia) and Kristina Sabaliauskaitė (Lithuania), The Baltics Market Focus Authors of the Day
  • Thursday 12th April: Jacqueline Wilson, Children’s Author of the Day

First introduced in 2006, the Author of the Day featured some of my favourite authors: Anthony Browne, Julia Donaldson,  Neil Gaiman, Sir Terry Prachett and Michael Morpurgo.

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Have you forgotten how to read?

Just finished an interesting article by Michael Harris, The Globe and Mail (Toronto) who decided to ditch his phone and read a book for a change – only a single chapter. But he found he couldn’t do it and after half an hour ditched the book and switched to Netflix!

In his words he’d forgotten how to read, really read.  Apparently this is not uncommon but as an author this was embarrassing. He felt that books opened up the world, but now all this screen orientation had closed that world and opened another. He feels that losing old styles of reading is ‘to lose a part of ourselves’.

‘The resonance of printed books – their lineal structure, the demands they make on our attention – touches every corner of the world we’ve inherited. But online life makes me into a different kind of reader – a cynical one. I scrounge, now, for the useful fact; I zero in on the shareable link. My attention – and thus my experience – fractures. Online reading is about clicks, and comments, and points. ‘

This article is well worth the read – link below – (OK so it’s on screen) but comparing with our own ability to actually read A BOOK is a useful exercise especially for those born in the pre-internet era. Despite current attitudes from some sectors there was life before Google and the internet!

Article Link

Michael Harris is the author of Solitude: A Singular Life in a Crowded World and The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We’ve Lost in an Age of Constant Connection

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