Books (Subscribe)

I read a combination of fiction and non-fiction, classics and little known works. Frequently they have quotes or ideas that I would love to reflect on or share.



At the end of 2019 I had a list of books that made an impression on me that year, but never got round to writing them up. Since 2020 is now half over, it’s time to fix that.

I guarantee this list was completed December last year, and doesn’t contain any clever additions like Pandemic Preparedness for Dummies or The Traveller’s Guide to Cancelling Everything and Staying at Home.

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Last weekend, I attended a Harry Potter Day at Federation Square, organised as part of the Melbourne Writers Festival. It celebrated 20 years since the initial publication of the Philosopher’s Stone, and considered how much the series had changed the world. Many of those there were not even born when the books were first published, and yet current evidence suggests they are now ardent fans. There were costumes galore, wands, and a general buzz of excitement.

Fiction changes lives.

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In my last couple of posts, I’ve talked about the confidence of children in the existence of things that don’t actually exist (part 1, part 2).

In this post I’d like to reflect on what it means to have a child-like faith, and what we as dignified, grown-up, rational adults can learn from it.

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In my last post, I talked of things that I had seen hiking, and of the confidence shown by children who had written letters to Winnie-the-Pooh or to the fairies. This post is a little more serious, since I’ve been sidetracked onto an important theme: the importance and power of fiction in real life. With the power of the Internet and social media there are fan clubs everywhere, and sometimes it is hard to draw the boundary between the fictional groups and “real life”. I’ve stuck to a couple of examples following the “letters” theme and a personal example, but it’s really just scratching the surface.

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I listen to a lot of audiobooks. Sometimes people ask me “Have you read this book?”, and my overly literal mind wants to reply “No, but I’ve listened to it.”

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