Last of the Amazons







If you like Shantaram then you might like Badventuring too…it’s a blog by Tom Hartland, a young man from Wolverhampton who took off around India and beyond on a bike and wrote about his adventures along the way (there’s a link here)

“The best stories are born in adversity, honed in hardship and steeped in survival.

Let’s stop being second-hand story-tellers and get busy crafting our own tales!“

It’s ok lads. He’s fully recovered now….



Mr Phillips

How often do men really think about sex?

Every 7 seconds? That would be 514 times an hour.

19 times a day?

Or once a day?

Interesting piece here explores the data and the methodologies.


The Dry

The Beacon

psychologically and existentially penetrating

The Siege

Some useful background reading on the siege of Leningrad here.

The Utopia Experiment


Picture by Sandy McCook – Inverness 30th March ’07 Dr Dylan Evans with his Utopia Experiment based in Culbockie on the Black Isle.

By the end of the book Dylan has come to a very different view of the state of the world and the value of ‘progress’. Many of the ideas he starts to share are picked up and explored in more depth in Harvard Psychologist Steven Pinker‘s book Enlightenment Now. There’s a fairly lengthy review of the book that summarises some of Pinker’s defence of enlightenment here.

utopia barn TUE 00197803

Adam TUE utopiaDM_468x312



Our only little piece of Utopia at Tim’s house


The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

A satisfying trip down memory lane for most Rotters though Teacher John felt that it needed more commas.

If re-reading the book is not quite the experience you remembered from 35 years ago, then what do you make of the TV series? Here’s where Arthur Dent saves the day by pressing the improbability drive.

Curiously, despite sitting in stony silence through the film adaptation in 2005, watching the trailer again makes me think we were maybe a little harsh?

Black Water Lilies

“Just finished Black Water Lilies – wow! It’s definitely not a book to only part read.. struggle to the end as it’s well worth it chaps.”

The Essex Serpent

This book didn’t get a great reception when we gathered to discuss it as a group. I wish this podcast of Sarah Perry discussing the book on the BBC R4 Bookclub had been recorded then because I don’t see how anyone could listen to this and not be entranced by the story. I think this will be available indefinitely. Do give it a listen here.

You have to admire an author who so comfortable in their own skin that they are prepared to tweet this about their book:


Actually Sarah Perry is great on twitter…well worth following @SarahGPerry


The Blackwater at Maldon. In the background are some of the Thames barges…with the orange sails…like the one that appeared to fly above the water to Will and Cora.



The author’s map of the imaginary village of Aldwinter