Blog – words & images

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About the ‘words & images’ blog

This blog was created in October 2020 as a place for all of my writing and photography which doesn’t naturally belong on Green Path, my long-running environment and wildlife blog.

Most of its initial content has been transferred from my older website and consists of book reviews (primarily fiction and mainly 2005 – 2010). It’s worth noting, however, that there are also book reviews (nonfiction and environmentally-themed fiction) on Green Path. All of my reviews are indexed here, whichever blog they are on.

Favourite Fantasy

In the last few weeks I’ve been asked by a couple of lovely people for recommended reading in fantasy and science fiction. My only qualification is that I have read so much in these genres over the last [redacted] decades that I have opinions based on vast experience, but here goes.

A few general points first …

I’m not going to mention a book or series by name unless it’s one I recommend. That saves me from saying “this is a good book” every time and it saves you from even hearing about bad books.

Inline links are to my own reviews (most of them them very short) on this blog or on Green Path unless otherwise noted.

There’s nothing wrong with escapism but I do like fiction which provides insights into ourselves or the way we live. I’ve said elsewhere that SF is brilliant for thought-experiments, but so is fantasy.

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Introducing Discworld

Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series is old enough that it should hardly need an introduction but some people have been unfortunate enough not to encounter his magical (in both senses) world. It’s their loss, not mine, but I am always sorry to see people missing out on such a feast of freewheeling humour, ingenious invention, sharp satire and humane wisdom.

For their benefit, then, I have put together a quick introduction to the series, short reviews of two of the books, and advice about making the sprawling series more approachable. All of that makes this blog post long enough to need its own index but I’m also going to put the Reading Guide here at the top for convenience.

IntroductionMaking MoneyI Shall Wear MidnightNavigating the Series

discworld-reading-order-guide-2.0
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Numberplate Scrabble

My family and I have been playing Numberplate Scrabble intermittently ever since I invented the game while driving my young daughter to school through inner-Melbourne suburbs.

It was one way of getting some fun out of the trip, and I’m sure it had some educational benefit at the time. I’m sharing it here for posterity (I hope Posterity is suitably grateful) and more particularly because a friend of mine was interested when I described it today. Here goes:

The Simplest Rules

1. Take the three letters in any numberplate you spot and use them in a word.

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