Posts Tagged “Books”


On the surface, hiking and blogging seem like complete opposites: one involves wandering the big outdoors, while the other involves sitting in front of a computer for far too many hours trying to wrangle my thoughts into a form others might understand. However, while I do far more hiking than I ever write about here, it is a fundamental part of my blogging process.

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In my previous post, I talked about the difficulty of being stuck in limbo by doubts that could not be resolved. Here is a list of some of the books that helped me out of that trap. They are the books that I wish I had read earlier (though I’m not sure I would have accepted their message earlier).

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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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OK, now I know how unfairly I have been privileged in gaining the education which allows me to write this blog in tolerable English. It was all due to my parents’ reprehensible practice of reading to me at bedtime, which I should forthwith adjure and abominate.

(yes, that may seem like click-bait - but there’s some serious analysis here).

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At the end of 2016, the common wisdom was that it was a terrible year. I’ve given it a month to settle, and I haven’t seen too many people retract that judgement.

As far as I can tell, 2016 was condemned for two reasons:

  1. Certain celebrities died.
  2. Unpopular political changes were made.

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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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When I have been on walks with small children, I have often felt that they are seeing things that I don’t see. Sometimes it’s the little details that I’ve seen thousands of times but never really observed. Other times, it’s the things I don’t see because they’re not there. But the child has a confidence that goes beyond “I’d like to imagine I’m seeing something”. It appears to me they are actually seeing and responding to whatever it is. No matter whether it is there or not.

Here are a few examples I’ve seen while out hiking.

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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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