800+ pages!

Alice bought me a copy of Deirdre Bair’s biography of Jung for my birthday. It’s some thing I’ve wanted to read but I hadn’t imagined it was over 800 pages. Certainly won’t get it finished this weekend.

August 1961

Picked this pre-order from my LCS this afternoon. It’s an omnibus collection of all the comics Martin Goodman’s comic company published in August 1961, including Fantastic Four #1.

The Spell of Conan / The Blade of Conan

I’ve been after this pair of books – reprints from the old Amra fanzine of criticism, stories and poetry published in 1979-80 – for YEARS! Never been able to get either for a reasonable price. Until now.


After spending too long in the sun yesterday, it’s raining here. Coat weather!

Summer Meadow

Skyward Sword

Somehow I’ve not played Skyward Sword before. It’s really good!

UK-Krakoa relations

Love how the UK is the country that breaks off relations with Krakoa in X-men #1. It’s the sort of thing the UK would do after booing during the Hellfire Gala.

Buscema & Roussos

Been looking at some early 80s covers for Marvel’s Conan the Barbarian by John Buscema. Hit by nostalgia which more than anything is down to George Roussos’ colouring. I have vivid memories of picking up these comics at newsagents on the way to school as a boy. Just delightful and lifted me after tough – seemingly endless – day!

Subterranean Network Blues

Sometimes I just don’t learn. Over the last decade I’ve built a Heath-Robinson home network out of a couple of WD NAS drives and some portable drives. For a few years I had one NAS automatically back up to the other every Sunday night. Back in March the newer NAS’ firmware updated and, for some reason, wouldn’t allow the other drive to auto backup. I knew that I needed to buy a proper NAS with RAID. But what I wanted was crazily expensive so I put my upgrade plans on hold and simply did a couple of manual backups syncing one drive to the other using FTP. Only I didn’t do it regularly. In fact, I think I only did it once. Yesterday something happened – some sort of router upgrade – that locked me out of both router and NAS drives. When I finally got back into the main NAS drive, I found it had been wiped. Everything wiped. While not the end of the world because the other NAS has everything backed up to last April, I’ve lost everything for the last two months. Really annoying. What’s worse is that I know I need to sort it out properly. I just don’t know what to do.

World of Black Hammer vol.3

Pleased to see the Library Editions of Black Hammer come out so frequently. Got this yesterday and just unpacked it this morning. I adore Tyler Crook’s artwork so this is a lovely Saturday morning pleasure.

Literature IS the operating instructions

Reading Ursula Le Guin’s **Words Are My Matter**, which is incredibly uplifting.

At one point Le Guin insists:

“Words are what matter. The sharing of words. The activation of the imagination through the reading of words.”

Thor 164

It’s a long time since I last bought an issue for my Warlock run. Got this today, Thor #164, which has – in the last couple of panels – there ‘s a glimpse of Him. It’s not in as good condition as I thought (there’s a little cover separation). Great Kirby art!


Gorgeous early Sunday morning in the back garden. Been out here for a couple of hours since six writing and reading. Shaped the piece I’m working on and looking at how James begins for some guidance on establishing tone at the start. Excited as I can see where this piece is going. Working title is “Brittle”. Everyone else is asleep in the house and I need this early morning to be able to completely focus.

Charity Shop Haul

Picked up some great books from the charity bookshop in town. A mixture of children’s books to add to my classroom library and some teacher books (Listening to Children Reading is one I’ve been looking out to find for ages). I’ve always steered away from Ladybird books but I’m not sure early years secondary students see them as just for primary kids anymore.


Like buses, just when you’ve been waiting for a new Hellboy publication two arrive at the same time. One of the stories in Universe is by Paul Grist, an absolutely amazing creator.

Dark Matter by Michelle Paver

Finished Dark Matter quickly. It’s an Arctic ghost story. It felt slight to me: as if it’s really a short story that’s been padded out. The premise and setting are engaging, even if the characters are a little too Brideshead. The connection between the scientific concept of dark matter and the darkness of the Arctic night works well. It just didn’t need the explanation of who the ghost was. Would have been better with the ghost as a nameless, unknowable horror.


One of the joys of having a little time off work is to do some geeky-techy things that I wouldn’t ordinarily bother with. I’ve managed to get a self-hosted Wallabag working well. It’ll replace Pocket, which is coming up for subscription renewal. Wallabag is free. It’s very much like Pocket but has the bonus of exporting articles into formats like pdf and epub very easily. Down side is that I can’t get the mobile apps working. Saving and reading using the browser works very well though.

Appreciation of L.T.C. Rolf

Wonderful piece by Kai Roberts, An Appreciation of Weird Fiction of L.T.C. Rolt.

“To anybody who lives amidst relics of the Industrial Revolution, the surroundings depicted in a number of Rolt’s tales should be very recognisable indeed and little evokes a sense of desolation and existential dread quite as effectively as decaying industrial architecture.”

An Appreciation of the Weird Fiction of L.T.C. Rolt

Creatures Moving

Discovered this in Oxfam this morning. Very pleased. It’s a themed anthology of texts about animals from the early 1970s. With a stylish cover by Ivan Atanasoft, there’s a real sense that a great deal of thought went into the curation of the book’s design. Some striking interior images, including one of a working horse collapsing in a street. I’m trying to get hold of as many of books like this from the (Golden Age?) of English teaching before the introduction of the National Curriculum. Moving Creatures is part of the English Project series edited by Geoffrey Summerfield.

Holiday Reading

My professional reading for next week arrived today, Robin Alexander’s A Dialogic Teaching Companion.