In the Moominhouse

Just a quick post this, to round off the year. I’m busy at the moment trying to get a book chapter finished by the first of January. It is about Moomins, flat ontology, Levinas, and other important matters of the day; and if it is taking longer than I had hoped, it is partly because I’m finding some rich philosophical seams to mine. Anyway, the deadline is looming, and it would be good not to start 2014 with a missed deadline, so at the moment I’m holed up with the cat and a pot of coffee,  ploughing through ]Totality and Infinity, Moominland Midwinter and other great philosophical classics.  Read more

A Note on Bread and Books

Over the last few days, I’ve been up to my ears in edits of my I Ching book project, this curious novel-of-sorts that has been preoccupying me for seven or eight years now. I’m hoping to get the final manuscript sent off by Christmas, so the next few days will be busy. In between long stints editing, I’ve also been baking bread. I’m not sure at the moment how the fiction is going, but the bread (sourdough with poppy seeds) seems to be doing well. Here’s what I found when I came downstairs this morning… Read more

Images from the British Library

This morning Twitter is all a-twitter with news that the excellent people at the British Library have released a million images over on Flickr under nicely non-restrictive licences so that they can be re-used, re-mixed and re-purposed. This is exactly the kind of thing that an organisation such as the British Library should be doing, and so it is a cause for celebration. After a quick search through some of the images, I thought I’d share this one, which is one of my favourites, from Mrs. Archibald Little’s 1899 book, Intimate China: the Chinese as I Have Seen Them (what do you mean, you haven’t heard of it…? Best head over to the internet archive and download the whole book!)

Anyway, the image caption says “Sacred Tiger”, although I can’t help thinking that this might be a typo, and that it should say, “Scared Tiger”, or perhaps “Anxious Tiger”.

Sacred Tiger, from  "Intimate China. The Chinese as I have seen them" 1899
Sacred Tiger, from “Intimate China. The Chinese as I have seen them” 1899


You can find the rest of the photo-stream by following the link HERE.

Postmodernism? What postmodernism?

Don’t you just hate those Postmodernist writers? You know the ones… the ones who can’t just get on with telling a story. The ones who pop up all the time and say, “Hey, folks, look — this is a story!” The ones who just can’t do anything straightforwardly. The ones who like mucking around. The ones who are too clever by half…

I’m busy at the moment putting the finishing touches to my long-term project, A Book of Changes, a strange kind of novel-of-sorts based on the I Ching. And now I’m getting to the end of it, I’m realising that the book will, when it is eventually published, almost certainly annoy readers who have a distaste for this so-called “cleverness”. It fools around with mixing fiction and non-fiction, it comments on the stories that are unfolding as they unfold, it addresses the reader directly. It occasionally stops mid-story to say, “Oh, look at this…”, before moving on again. Read more


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