When asked what made a good writing style, Coleridge replied:  Where one thinks always of the matter and never of the manner.

Have you ever held a book so entrancing that you just had to keep on reading till the end? Here is one. remark

‘If nobody speaks of remarkable things’ by Jon McGregor.

It is a tale, as all good tales, of Death and Birth, lingering love, limited love, loss.

Cascading water and birds and angels.

Pain and wonder and family.

Lies, secrets and heartbreak subsumed under the ordinary rituals of every day living; the babe crushed hushingly against her mother’s shoulder.

The man from number sixteen – only a handful of the 30 or so people in the story have names – talks to his 4 year old about angels and birds and minor miracles:

He says my daughter, and all the love he has is wrapped up in the tone of his voice when he says these two words, he says my daughter you must always look with both of your eyes and listen with both of your ears. He says this is a very big world and there are many things you could miss if you are not careful he says there are remarkable things all the time, right in front of us, but our eyes have like the clouds over the sun and our lives are paler and poorer if we do not see them for what they are.

He says, if nobody speaks of remarkable things, how can they be called remarkable?


Saturday. I read from 8.30 to 12.30 with short excursions from bed to sofa via bathroom and kitchen.

Fridge unfilled, friends unconnected, dust motes floated free. At the conclusion, I want to start all over again. But I needed to do something unremarkable to still my heart.

To read is to fly: it is to soar to a point of vantage which gives a view over wide terrains of history, human variety, ideas, shared experience and the fruits of many enquiries. (A.C. Grayling)

Powerful stories, beautifully told, change lives. I read for escape from the confines of my world, for entrance into different places and times and emotions, to relax. I read to find out what I think about things, as well as to discover what others think. I read to learn new ways of placing words and ideas together to create some thing new. I read to help me laugh and to give expression to my sadnesses. Reading sustains me, nourishes me; reading might even make me a better person.

To acquire literacy is more than to psychologically and mechanically dominate reading and writing techniques. It is to dominate those techniques in terms of consciousness; to understand what one reads and to write what one understands; it is to communicate graphically. Acquiring literacy does not involve memorising sentences, words or syllables – lifeless objects unconnected to an existential universe – but rather an attitude of creation and re-creation, a self-transformation producing a stance of intervention in one’s context. (Paulo Freire 1973 ).

I commend this book to you.