Monday, 31 October 2011

Book Writing - Good and Bad

I have just read a blog entry (follow link below) “10 Literary Trends that Need to Go Away” (

It made me think about the wealth of quality material available in the Black Country. I am not talking about nationally published fiction or non-fiction, available from the likes of Waterstones and supermarkets. I am talking about local material.

On Saturday night, for example, I attended a book launch in Bilston for Ned William's new major works: "Black Country Cinemas" and "Black Country Theatres". Ned has spent years researching and compiling these works, and what a job he has done. He has also taken the trouble to self-publish them, so he believes in the quality of the work. I have both books, and will be reviewing them in the Winter issue of The Blackcountryman.

I am also talking about the wealth of material that Black Country folk have published over centuries. Fiction from the likes of Jerome K Jerome and Francis Brett Young; and non-fiction from a variety of writers on the whole spectrum of Black Country-related subjects.

We buy a lot of books, in fact I have just had to extend my bookcases in my office to cater for recent purchases. Some of those are modern fiction and non-fiction, but much is Black Country-related and is my reading of choice. There is also a bit of a thrill at finding an out of print book, often from the late 19th or early 20th Century, it is like buying a piece of history - an antique.

Finally, just so this post doesn't sound too much like a rant. I have just installed a new app on my iPad. It is a British Library app and is free to download. It gives access to a whole library of out of copyright books, some are available free of charge, but for a small monthly subscription, you can have access to at least 30,000 (soon to rise to a planned 60,000) books on every conceivable subject. I have subscribed and have already read books by Hackwood on Wednesbury and West Bromwich, and have others that I have ready to read. It is the best £1.99 I have spent this month and I will be continuing my subscription as long as the books keep coming. I think for a historian, that it is almost worth the price of an iPad to get this facility!


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