Book Review – Out of the Bronx. A memoir by Irene Sardanis

May 21, 2023

Irene Sardanis was raised by an abusive mother and the main reason why she wrote this book seems to be to get back at her.  She tells how she was brought up by Greek immigrant parents in a poor area of New York with two sisters and one brother.  The family was abandoned by their philandering father who remained living in the same neighbourhood but did nothing to provide support.  As the youngest child the author was expected to provide support for her mother and accepted this as her duty even though she subjected her to constant abuse.  On the surface this seems a depressive book to read but I found the story fascinating.  It kept me reading right to the end to see how she could cope with her mother and how she survived to live a successful life.

 

Keith Jahans

 

Available as a paperback,
ebook and audiobook.


Travels in Southern England – St George’s Day in Pinner.

April 24, 2023

St George’s Day was never much of an event I have taken notice of.  The ancient hero was of course celebrated in olden times and he is England’s patron saint so I suppose it is appropriate we English celebrate his day, after all Scotland has St Andrew’s Day, Wales St David’s Day and Ireland St Patrick’s Day.  In Pinner, North London, where I am staying, St George’s Day is a big event with a road closed off, so a wheelbarrow race can take place, street venders can set up their stalls and Morris Dancers can display their art (see photos below).

 

Keith Jahans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


London Book Fair 2023 – Part 2

April 20, 2023

I called into The Hand & Flower yesterday for the Alliance of Independent Authors’ drinks party.  I met an Irishman who now lives in Wandsworth, London, an area I was familiar with from the days when I used to visit the Youngs Ram Brewery, sadly now no longer in existence.  He was interested in publishing his travel books and I pointed out that it was now easier than never before because of the existence of self publishing companies such as Kindle Direct Publishing and Engram Spark.  There were plenty of tutorials of how to do this online and as the London Book Fair still had a day to run I pointed him in the direction of their stands.  Whether he would make any money from these enterprises was doubtful, but it would provide an entertaining pastime.  I had achieved all I had wanted from this year’s Fair so I wended my way back to where I live in North London, satisfied that I had met my main targets

Keith Jahans

 

The Hand and Flower Pub opposite Olimpia


London Book Fair 2023

April 19, 2023

Yesterday I attended Day 1 of this year’s LBF.  All the publishing players I wanted to see were there including Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and Ingram Spark.  I met best selling authors Nicola May and Barry Hutchison (better known as JD Kirk) who I also met last year at the KDP stand and was able to pick up some valuable pointers.  I popped into Nielsen’s Book Data and learned that, as Kindle were now using Epub rather than Mobi format for their Kindle ebooks, there was no need to have a different ISBN for each of these formats which will be a big money saver moving forward.  Much to my surprise the Alliance of Independent Authors, of which I am a member, did not have a stand, but they will be holding a drinks party at The Hand & Flower pub opposite Olympia Wednesday evening.

 

Keith Jahans

 

LBF 2023

 

IS Stand

 

KDP Stand


Book Review – Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

April 7, 2023

The clocks were striking thirteen.

The author wrote this in 1948 and reversed the last two digits to create his title.  Both dates have long passed yet the book is as relevant now as it was then.  It remains the first great dystopian novel.  Orwell depicts a terrifying world using the technical skills of one of the twentieth century’s greatest writers.

The story centres on Winston Smith who, as a smallish frail figure, lives in a dingy flat and is a government employee in the records department at the Ministry of Truth.  War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength.  He is, like everyone in his world, watched at home, at work and everywhere he goes.  This world is ruled over by “Big Brother” and Winston goes about daily life in fear of being detained by the Thought Police.

Sadly, much of what Orwell writes has come to pass which leaves the reader with a pessimistic outlook for the future.  The story was written as a warning and yet little note has been taken of it by western political leaders.  However, there is hope that new leaders will emerge who will look at it again and succeed in avoiding the pitfalls so brilliantly described in this narrative.

 

Available as a hardback, paperback,
ebook and audiobook

Keith Jahans


Travels in Southern England – Oxhey Woods, Hertfordshire.

March 2, 2023

These woods contain four easy short walks in woodland.  Even the longest walk is a mere 4 km and all are ideal for those who dislike walking too far.  I was able to complete all four in the space of one morning and marvelled at the trees and carved sculptures I saw on the way.

 

Carved arch near entrance to walks

Typical English woodland in late February

Map of Sculptures by entrance

Example 1

Example 2

Example 3

Pond – little more than a puddle
Look carefully to see sculptures

Keith Jahans


Book Review – Chloe – Lost Girl (Carl Sant Murder Mysteries Book 1) by Dan Laughey

January 31, 2023

This is a fast paced police procedure thriller with plenty of twists along the way.  It will be enjoyed by anyone who likes reading books of these genera.

Keith Jahans

 

Published by Next Chapter (5 Mar. 2019
in hardcover, as an ebook, paperback and audiobook


Book Review – Shadow of the Dome by Karen Warren

January 22, 2023

This is a novel set in a historical period I know little about.  I have heard of the Mongol Emperor, Kublai Khan,and the explorer Marco Polo but my knowledge is very sketchy.  I also know of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s famous poem about Kublai Khan and his stately pleasure-dome.  Karen Warren obviously knows her subject and has done her research well.

This tale of a Mongol princess and her servants is a compelling read.  The narrative kept me going right to the end and there are twists along the way.  The author is an exceptional storyteller and I recommend this book to anyone who appreciates not only historical fiction but also likes reading a good adventure story.

 

Keith Jahans

 

Published by Lume Books
available as an ebook and a paperback


Travels in Scotland – 31 December 2022

January 1, 2023

Visited Edinburgh this New Year’s eve and parked at the Castle Terrace car park.  We felt we had done enough castle tours this trip and did not want to climb the hill to the castle.  Instead we admired the view we had of this magnificent building and elected to stroll into the city and do some shopping.  On the way we took in the stunning architecture that the city has to offer.  We did our shopping but got hopelessly lost on our way back to the car.

The Scots have a wonderful tradition of celebrating New Year’s Eve or Hogmanay as it is called here.  I was hoping that I would find a promising venue that we could see in the New Year that evening but the hotel restaurant only offered a rudimentary menu and the pub/restaurant opposite offered just English/American cuisine.  Haggis was not on the menu.  Instead we elected for the Hotel’s offering and saw in the New Year in our room.  On New Year’s Day we will set out for England and will return to our flat in London on 2nd January.

 

Edinburgh Castle

 

Keith Jahans


Travels in Scotland – 30 December 2022

December 31, 2022

Rose early as usual but this time had the hotel’s inclusive breakfast which included slices of Haggis.  Then set out for Sterling.  On the way we stopped at the picturesque Donnotar castle.  I had been here before during my “Castle Trail” visit of 2015
( check out https://peatmore.wordpress.com/2015/07 for details).
It was certainly worth another look.  An hour later we departed for Sterling Castle where we took time out to tour its magnificent interior.  Finally, as darkness fell, we arrived at our Sterling hotel where we planned to spend the next two nights.

 

Dunnottar Castle

 

 

Sterling Castle

Keith Jahans


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