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"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested." A judgment, from before junk-food and DTP.

Recommending books is a dangerous thing to do, because our tastes or verdicts could differ wildly. Summarising books is also risky, because saying too little might give the wrong impression while saying too much would spoil the surprise. Bearing these perils in mind, here are some - shall we say - observations on books I have enjoyed and still have a copy of to hand ... Others are scattered throughout this site under their own names.

the Cloister and the Hearth  Charles Reade
A ripping yarn, prejudices and Wardour Street archaisms notwithstanding. I bet Denis' beard was red, too.

the Beiderbecke trilogy  Alan Plater
Two of the most believable characters in fiction, and like us to boot.

Traveller in Black  John Brunner
Elegant, stylish fantasy, streets more readable than the Branch Cabell it is supposed to be imitating

Walking Dead  Peter Dickinson
Convincing voodoo in a convincing dictatorship - persuasive and frightening.

Between the forest and the hills  Ann Lawrence
A fable about barbarians and Romanised Britons, with echoes, allusions and one wonderful anachronism. And an unintrusive reflection on faith that reduces me to tears every time I read the book.