Five years happy birthday winstonsdad


Well I nearly missed this if it hadn’t been the fact I saw the notification of my anniversary today .Well five years for me is a milestone I never thought I’d reach and finally feel like a proper blogger now .So in Five years there has been 910 posts written , 452 books reviewed .94 countries covered in the blog ,10,500 comment left and replied ,5 shadow juries ,a lot of book pictures .I want to thank everyone who has visited the blog ,left a comment ,rt a post I written ,been inspired to read a book in translation.I now look forward too five more years getting to 500 books under review ,100 countries ( one nearer yesterday with an Estonian novel ) .I will return to reviews tomorrow with a promised Brazilian novel Blood drenched beard .Many thanks again blogging has given me so much more than I ever expected .

That was the month that was January 2013 – a quarter million milestone

snowy treeWell the nights are starting to lighten its been a busy month here at Winston’s tower ,some how shocked how I managed to get 14 books read this month but a number where rather short .I had a number of night shifts and was off for the last five days of the month .I managed to have a little more time than normal to read .Any way favourite book of the month Train to Budapest by Dacia Marani ,which I shall review early next month ,other honorable mentions go to The eleven by Pierre Michon and the two Donald Antrim reissues I read .A good book finding month as many of you may know I tend to have tight book finances ,when it comes to what is available to spend sad to say I had to return to Amazon after nearly a year just because of cost and availability of the books I want for three books ,I hope in summer trips out to cities with Amanda will mean I can buy books in shops I want .But the other side of this is I am a huge second-hand buyer and this month saw me hit gold with a number of penguins a Roman Gary ,Andre Gide ,Henrich Boll and a Samuel Beckett novel .Which eased my conscious re using amazon as some of  these books  are out of print and will be reviewed on here which I hope will get people to find them all out as they are   all writers I feel the need to read and think other people should these are the ones that explain modern literature in France and Germany as they tend to inspire or have been read by most modern writers in these countries .So the month ahead well here at Winston towers two dates spring to mind ,the first is valentines day as a romantic at heart I’ve my book ready for the day and will be spending time myself with the darling Amanda .The other date in my diary is Amanda’s birthday which may not be so bookish as she isn’t a huge reader but sure we will have a lovely time and I ll get her some great gifts .For the blog I sit on the verge of a quarter million views in my stats sometime today or tomorrow I will pass that total so thanks to every one who visits on a regular or just once all welcome  great that you all come and visit the blog .The picture at the top was taken in the middle of the month out with Winston in the middle of the snow .

What was your favourite book last month ?

Plans for next ?


Desert island disc -take two the reload

Late last year I did a desert island disc post but since then the choices have puzzled me and a recent chat with an old friend on Facebook has made me re think the list and also in the time in between I ve really found my personnel voice and find writing posts flows easier for me so want to redo list now and flesh out choice with reasons .I love desert island disc and since the archive has come online spent a lot time looking at choices of past guests have made in the show .so for take two here are my choices and the reasons for them .

1.Better together – Jack Johnson – I choose this last time I know ,it is a mellow tune but is the first song we had at our wedding and is Amanda and I song .Because we are better together I feel like I ve lost an arm when we re apart ,we get on so well together every minute together is precious to me .so it will always be here in a desert island disc list .


2.Blue ridge mountains by Fleet foxes – I fell in love with the voices of the fleet foxes when I first heard them ,it was one of those moments you hear a song and know the band will be in your collection for ever ,this track from the debut album make me think of the wild places I ve been in my life ,a windswept beach in Donegal ,the moor in Northumberland or driving through the highlands on a summer day .

3.When I ‘m dead and gone – fury in the slaughterhouse ,the german rem or u2 they’ve been called this from the bluesy album mono ,a dark album about death mainly this song  about how your remembered is my favourite by them .This to me is a secret band not well-known here ,I found out about them in the time I lived in Germany and it reminds me of that year there .


4.Drowners – suede – this was huge when it came out the new smiths was the take ,gritty lyrics and clashing guitars made it a teenage anthem ,I remember buying it in Kirkcaldy in a small indie record shop there and listening to it at my aunties ,it reminds me of summers in Fife with family strange for a dark song but I always make connections between time and places with what I listen to so if this is dark it makes me think of happy times .

5. Fake empire – the national – this was used as part of Obama campaign ,I got into national via a track on a magazine CD .This is an album that is always on my I-pod nano so it makes me thing of Winston for some reason this album boxer and this track in particular is great dog walking music ,especially on a dark night .

6.I wanna go to marz – John Grant – this is a soulful song about a childhood sweet shop but much more than that ,from an album that I ve played to death since I ve got it ,John grant was the lead singer of the czars and I got their album via my best friend Steve so in some ways this albums reminds me of the great night s of my twenties when Steve, Leon ,my brother Duncan and I went out every friday and saturday drinking round town .I remember the characters we meet the bars and route we took week after week .

7.Late night ,Maudlin street by Morrissey – Well anyone that knows me knows I couldn’t go to a desert island without Morrissey or the smiths I have had a love /hate relationship with him and his music I was a smiths fan and love his debut solo album which this is from this is one of his longest songs and I think one he revealed some of his own life on a song set in the seventies about urban life .I m reminded of the day I brought the album at beat route records in Congleton and the fact for a long time after they had an australian copy with a title misprint on of “education in reverse ” the run out groove message on the vinyl album ,not “viva hate” the actual title .

8.Mfwany by Sir John Betjeman – This is one of his poems set to music ,he record these in the seventies but it took twitter to get to me ,although Morrissey had used a different track as a show opener on his tour .I just love his voice the tone of it and this song in particular .

Book – essays by Ben Okri – a change I choose Proust but I feel this would keep my mind alive Okri essays in his two collections the first of which I ve read m\ke you question books myths ,utopias and the Arcadian myth to name some .

Luxury – same as last time a digital photo frame with my wedding the best day of my life   and a couple of pictures of Winston so I’ll  have all I love and hold dear to look at .

There I feel this is a better post than the first ,my friend on Facebook said I live on   memories and I do but also live for today because as some one said you have to see where you’ve been to see where your going ,that is very true I think .

What would you choose and why ?


Four things for a sunday

I ve seen this Meme on thomas at my porch and Amy reads so had a think and have  choosen my choices –

Four jobs I ve had in my life –

  1. Barman – worked in a busy pub when I was 18 ,great fun at the time .
  2. packing person – I work in a german factory packing things ,it was boring but great fun as co workers mainly students and refugees so wonderful banter .
  3. bike repair man – this also in germany in a charity workshop ,learnt how to fix a bicycle .
  4. support worker – current job I love it ,great to see what good we can do for the people we support .

Four books I would read over and over –

  1. Ring of Saturn W G Sebald – A book that gives every time you read it .
  2. Ulysses by James Joyce – I feel I could read this a hundred times and still not get fully !
  3. The complete Holmes – I read a bit of him every few week a short story here and there ,I watch the films all time ,just love Holmes .
  4. Don Quixote by Cervantes – a book for sure I m going to reread over the years .

Four places I ve lived –

1.Poyton where I grew up til early teens a small village on edge of peak district

2.Alnwick – famous for its castle featured in Harry potter films and its home to barter books one of the UK largest secondhand bookshops which opened whilst I lived there .My flat was just behind the castle on the non pretty side .

3.Kleve – home of anne of Cleves and the german artist Joseph Beuys ,a pretty town centre and great market .

4.Chesterfield where I live now is a wonderful market town and living two mins walk from work is wonderful .

Four books I would recommend –

1.Underworld by  Don DeLillo  – a wonderful insight into 20th century america .

2.Suitable boy by Vikram Seth – like underworld but about india and four families there .

3.Fado by Andrzej Stasiuk – A journey round eastern europe post communism .

4.The plague by Albert Camus – The full spectrum of human life in this book .

Four places I ve been –

1.Donegal – I stayed in a thatched cottage with family ,my dad goes back every year or two. A peaceful place with great cliffs and wonderful beaches .

2.Torquay – spent my honeymoon with the lovely Amanda here .

3.Elie – spent my youth here on beaches ,walking playing sport with my younger brother at our grans

4.portugal – I love the place been once want go again !

Four favourite foods –

1.hand made pasta in a simple tomato sauce – mmm

2.soda bread – toast with cheese on .

3.wheaten bread with jam .

4.salmon with a nice salsa .

Four favourite drinks – – dark with out milk ,most of all double espresso with a good creme on top .

2.Jaipur IPA – a local brewed beer to me ,easy tasting but very strong .

3.ravenswood lodi – a mid price red wine from old vines ,wonderful flavours .

4.colheita -Andresen is brand I ve drunk in past ,a gift from my younger brother .

Four places I d rather be right now –

1- nowhere at home with Amanda at moment best place to be .

2. Elie – A place full of happy memories for me .

3.Torquay – same as Elie our honeymoon . a bookshop .

Four thing special in my life –

1. Amanda – most important thing in my life .

2. Family – got some great family .

3 . Winston  – he is a one-off and may be naughty some times but love him all the same .

4. My job – every day we help people we support ,help them achieve the best they can.

5 . Books – a fifth thing they are important but family is more so !

Thanks what would you choose 

Bloggiesta wrap up and a question

Well my quiet Bloggeista was a success .What I did –

  • updated what I m reading and put all challenge badges up
  • updated blogroll
  • Start working on about me ,want make this perfect this time so another day or two to muse
  • wrote two reviews
  • commented on new blogs

This was quite productive given the time I had ,I also finished a book and read my first bit of war and peace .

Question –

I m not a huge audiobook fan but would like to try one or two anyone any suggestions on the line of what I read anyway or something simply brilliant that you’ve listen too in the past ? All suggestions welcome .


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