365-word reviews

This site is all about books, just books. I, Adam Hill, read them and review them in – since everyone needs a gimmick – 365 words. Give or take. The eagle-eyed among you will see that some of the reviews are 730 words: this will be because two books are combined in one. So there is maths involved as well. I started in 2013 not buying any books at all, just delving into the ones which had been on my shelves, or floors, for years. Once 2014 came, I began buying them again – but only from independent bookshops. The definition of ‘independent’ is elastic. You can be a chain and still be independent: for example, Foyles and Daunt were allowed (not to mention the brilliant little shop on Avon Beach in the New Forest which hides bookshelves of Vintage classics behind the sun cream, buckets and spades), while Waterstones was not*. I’m not sure this is entirely consistent. I do not have the wherewithal to delve into corporate ownership issues – especially if I actually enjoy browsing the establishments concerned – and Rumpole, or Atticus Finch, would not need much time demolishing my case. And anyway, I used to quite like Waterstone’s, when it had an apostrophe. Perhaps it’s time to see what time, and grammatical inexactitude, have done to the old place. From 2015 the focus was on longer books, classics and perhaps the odd recent one – and this is how I’ve continued. I have a weakness for sensational fiction from bygone days, which is why there are more reviews of Fu Manchu stories than seems strictly necessary.


A note on the picture: this is not my usual reading outfit – unless, I suppose, I were reading in heaven. Which doesn’t sound so bad. But let’s get on: enjoy reading. It’s one of the things which will save us from the abyss.

*Waterstones (with or without apostrophe) is now off the naughty list. Anything goes. Apart from Amazon, usually.


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