Please do not ask me to review e-books - I will not. I also rarely review fiction. Please consider this before emailing me.
Occasionally publishers send me copies of books to review. I make no promises to review them. Nor when I do so, will I review them in any different way to any other books I review. I will not be in a position to return any books that you might send me. If you do decide to send books for review, please put the correct postage on the package.
This 'blog was launched way back on February 21st 2005. The text below formed the very first post. I've moved it here to make it easier to find.
This blog is intended to be a record of my thoughts on the books I read over the period of a year. For me, reading is not a chore - though finishing a book can sometimes be hard work. Nor is reading an indulgence - though sometimes there are better things to be doing. Rather, it is a part of my life, and this blog is an attempt to share that with the rest of the world.
Of course, to say that I don't discuss, debate or argue about books with other people would be a lie - for me, such intercourse is part of what makes reading such fun. It is also how you learn more about books, the world around you and other people.
So this blog, this project, these writings are an attempt to chronicle the books I read over a period of a year. It is not my first blog, nor the first time I have written about books. I have written reviews for magazines in the past and I expect to do the same again over the course of the next 12 months. While I may well write about the same books as I do elsewhere, for reasons that should be obvious, those reviews will remain separate.
I have set myself some other rules for this blog. The first is this. To read a book from cover to cover is not always necessary. But only rarely can the full point of a book be gathered from a cursory glance. So I will talk about books here only if they have had a serious read in my opinion. Secondly, I will not use this blog to create an image of myself as an expert in a particular field, or as a reading snob. If I read a Terry Pratchett novel, I'll mention it here. If you think I'm wrong to do so, then there's going to be a comment area.
Before we continue I need to get one other thing clear. Knowledge, and thus books, or writing in general does not exist in a vacuum. Nor does reading. Whether a book is a novel, a text book, an examination of a period of history or an argument about a politician, they are coloured by the events of the period of writing and the point of view of the author.
It's the same with reading. We all read for many reasons - entertainment or education perhaps. But I have to be clear that I also read to arm myself with knowledge and argument. Fundamentally I believe that we live in a world of vast inequality, a world whose priorities are not those of the people who live therein, but are those of a tiny percentage at the top of society. For me, reading is more than entertainment, it helps to illuminate the world around us and it's history - all the more to make it easier to change things for the better. After all, in the words of one famous author "The Philosophers have merely interpreted the world in various ways. The point however, is to change it."