A Common Reader is . . .
. . . written by Tom Cunliffe, of East Sussex, England

It consists of book reviews and more general articles about reading and currently receives over 10,000 unique visitors each month. So far 299 book reviews have been published.

I live with my wife Margaret in East Sussex, having managed to return to God’s own county after many years in exile. A couple of years ago I managed to get early retirement after a lengthy career in I.T. and am now able to devote myself to many of my interests including reading, walking and playing the guitar and mandolin.  I retain a vestige of usefulness by running websites for a couple of local organisations and fixing computer problems for friends and family (a never-ending task!).

I have always been unable to live without books and for example, the thought of a train journey without a book to hand fills me with anxiety.  Some years ago I realised that by reading so many books I was actually forgetting most of them within a few weeks (or even days) of finishing them, so I started to write reviews, firstly for Amazon and then for my own website.

Having now retired from a career in which I ended up writing reports for government ministers and H.M. Treasury on the latest I.T. debacles it is a pleasure to be able to write about one of the things I love – books – without needing to submit the results to consultation, quality assurance and political correctness reviews.

I have written reviews of a few books by Gregor Von Rezzori and have brought them together with some biographical information .

I have become interested in the life of Jan Karski, a major figure in the Polish Resistance in World War 2. 

I have written a study guide to W G Sebald’s novel Austerlitz.

I live in the county of Sussex and publish reviews of books by or about writers who lived in the county such as Hillaire Belloc and Rudyard Kipling.

Walking the Hexagon – Terry Cudbird

In my last post I mentioned three books about men on extended walks. This time, rather than fiction, I am writing about a real-life walk, during which Terry Cudbird retired from work and decided to walk the coast of France, an epic journey by anyone’s standards. Just before his retirement, Terry was on holiday with his wife in the French Alps and told her that he would like to walk some of the Grand Randonées (the network of long-distance footpaths that cross the country in all directions). His wife must be either very tolerant or else wanted time on her own, for she replied, “why don’t you do it now, before you become decrepit”.

Idiomantics – Philip Gooden and Peter Lewis

I occasionally review books about language and the origin of words and was drawn to Idiomantics which has the subtitle, “The Weird World of Popular Phrases”. With a recommendation from Gyles Brandreth (host of the BBC radio show Wordaholics) I decided to read the book to see how it compared to the rest of my collection of “word” books. The book is similar in format to The Etymologicon by Mark Forsyth, which I featured late last year, and the book is equally entertaining. The phrases are arranged into 13 chapters with titles such as Corridors of Power, The Daily Grind and National Identity. Each phrase is covered by up to two or three pages describing the origin and use of the phrase phrase and the results are often surprising. A useful index is provided at the end and I found that quite most of the common phrases I could think of covered in it.

The Lower River – Paul Theroux

Its a long time since I read a new novel by Paul Theroux. Most of his more well-known books were written in the 1980s and 90s (see Wikipedia list here) and I remember them as being very high quality reading experiences although I found his later work less satisfying. his year we’ve got a new novel from Theroux, The Lower River, and I’m pleased to say its a welcome return to form. Some of Theroux’s novels are semi-autobiographical and when he writes about Africa, as he does in The Lower River, his writing has an authority born of personal experience. As a young man he joined the Peace Corps and went to teach in Malawi. After a controversial time there he moved to Uganda and taught at Makere University where he began a long-term friendship and working friendship with V S Naipul, with whom he had a much publicised falling-out when Theroux published his book Sir Vidia’s Shadow in 1998.

Importance Of HVAC Maintenance

Unless you are comfortable, nearly everything is much more work to do. It does not matter whether your need is usually to be more relaxed or perhaps warmer, powerful HVAC maintenance by seasoned air cooling contractors is actually the key element.

There are actually businesses these days, retail, manufacturing, or perhaps residential, that need HVAC upkeep by competent air cooling contractors to maintain their cooling as well as heating systems running at optimum effectiveness.

Some HVAC devices are too small and quite easy in design, such as for instance those found in apartments and houses. Others are big and extremely complex machines that heat and big cool retail and manufacturing organizations. Regularly scheduled upkeep of your air cooling equipment is actually crucial to make sure that devices are constantly operating at optimum effectiveness.

Regrettably, air cooling methods differ, as do the operating requirements of theirs. When you determine the air conditioning contractors which will service the system of yours, make sure they’re acquainted with your computer as well as the conditions they have to fulfill.

Proprietors of air cooling units in apartments and homes has to inspect their HVAC devices every couple of months to keep them running properly. The owner’s manuals typically provide straightforward preventive upkeep checklists with useful guidelines and diagrams on how you can keep them. The resources are explained by them and strategies involved in the repairs and maintenance of inner parts. Even easy cleaning can substantially enhance the functionality of the air cooling unit. Additionally, most household HVAC devices are built with replaceable air filters which must be changed on a routine basis based on the maker’s specifications.

A professional technician must be contacted whether a homeowner isn’t familiar with HVAC maintenance duties in case the device stops running properly, or perhaps entirely. Professional service specialists have the specific instruction to do AC repair in the dead of summer and restore most kinds of HVAC systems offered. They’re taught to diagnose issues, replace worn and damaged equipment and test equipment to make certain their repairs were right. HVAC specialists could be found by doing an Internet search of neighborhood specialists or perhaps by contacting the producer of the team of yours. Timely maintenance processes are actually vital to make certain methods keep on to operate efficiently and robustly for numerous years to come.

Regardless of who you use to service your air system, make certain they’re approved air cooling contractors with the experience they have to work on the system of yours.

The heating and cooling systems utilized in big structures like retail operations and businesses are usually completely different than household HVAC devices. Systems often feature a lot more comprehensive controls and gauges, pressurized pipes, boilers, and night ventilation ducts that provide cold and hot air. HVAC maintenance on such devices requires expert specialized information and problem solving abilities. Professional technicians are able to fix and replace potentially risky refrigerants and conduct other crucial responsibilities that will enhance not just the effectiveness but additionally the life of your manufacturing, retail, or maybe supporting systems and house product. Carefully preserving your device is certain to enhance the quality of the life of yours on all levels.

Choosing The Best Wedding Photographer

Selecting a wedding photographer is actually among the most crucial products with regards to planning a wedding party. You’ll find a couple of things to help keep in mind when choosing the photographer that can make the task a lot more comfortable and less time consuming. After the marriage, the cake is gone, the flowers disappear, though the pictures and memories are going to last a lifetime. Deciding on the wrong photographer could be the most significant error when planning a wedding party. You’ll find a couple of things to think about when selecting the proper photographer for the weddings of yours including price, personality, portfolio, professionalism, and experience .

Experience has to be probably the most crucial elements. A seasoned Pixelicious wedding photographer is able to prove their worth consistently. You are going to get far more quality images and more pictures which record the feeling and also the moment at that moment. Developing an innovative photographer will likely not yield those outcomes, as well as the wedding surely can’t be done over to draw new photos. It’s an one shot deal.

Professionalism is additionally essential. Does the photographer have specialized equipment? A photographer is just as effective as the equipment of theirs. If they’ve the low end equipment, they’re sure that there is going to be low end photographs also. Will they be bringing backup gear in case of an emergency? If something happens to the stuff of theirs, it’s not possible to stop the wedding due to the photographer. In case they’ve backup gear which is going to eliminate the problems. Exactly how will they dress for the wedding day? If everybody at the wedding day is actually using a tux you do not plan the photographer to show up in jeans, right? Ideally, the photographer is going to be professional enough to learn this and put on the proper attire to the wedding party.

Portfolio, that’s exactly where it’s all at. When the photos aren’t great, then do not care about the majority of these tips. Always check a great deal of pictures including different photographers pictures. You then are going to have a comparison platform when looking at pictures. Additionally, glimpse at the photographers proof guide. This enables you to see all of the photos taken at the wedding which includes the bad ones. In case they do not wish to teach you the proof book, then do not wast the time of yours on them.

The photographer must mixture into the track record at the wedding party. They’ll also be mingling with guests. This can make their personality really significant since we do not want some tension between the photographer as well as guests. If they’ve a great sense of humor and will mingle with the guests and still achieve the work of theirs, then it is going to go smooth.

Price is always excellent. Do you need pictures of the bride as well as groom? Do you should get a photograph of the wedding day cake? Guests? If you would like the most effective pictures then often you’ve to purchase probably the best. In case you’re attempting to be within a budget, then attempt to cut in other parts aside from the photography region. In case you decide on the proper photographer, then your memories and pictures are going to last a lifetime.

Book Review: The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

The Immortalists is a book which talks about the sorrow which every human has to face and how everyone deals with it. The book is published in the year 2018, and this book tells the story of four children Varya who is a careful pragmatist, Daniel the moral leader, Klara the magic lover and Simon the reserved one. These four kids hear rumblings in the neighbourhood about a woman who can tell the fortune of people, and she also could tell the exact dates in which people would die. The four children become curious and decide to meet this woman to learn more about their fortune and their death date.

The four kids set out on a journey to find this woman, and when they eventually find out where she is, they go and meet her individually in a small room. Now you wouldn’t be told what they death date is going to be but as you continue to read you will come to know when each of them will meet their death. All this happens at the very beginning of the book, and the remaining of the book is dedicated to following the four children through decades, and as these death dates get closer and finally comes, you will get to know if the woman was actually right.

Haze in the Synopsis:

When you read the synopsis of the book, it brings out a hint of magical reality, and you tend to think that there is something supernatural about this story. But once you read the book, you will understand that that is not the case in this novel. The Immortalists is straight literary fiction, you cannot say that the book lacks paranormal activities, but this book is a classic haze of publisher covering up a book to be something that it is not to make it appear fancy. Many readers might get disappointed by this as they get misled into thinking that this is a magical reality book.


The author tries to ask questions such as by knowing the future of your life; will you alter the behaviour of your present? and should we know the information of our death dates and what would that knowledge do to us; will it have the capacity to save us or kill us while we are still living. The author makes her readers think about all these things, and all of these questions are quite deep.

You cannot expect too much mystery in the story. As you read the book, you will kind of predict what is going to happen and not many readers would like to know what exactly is going to happen before they finish reading the book. But the characters of the book are amazing, and as you get to know about them and the journey, they take you will understand the message that author is trying to tell you.

Benefits of Reading: Why You Should Read Every Day

Reading is a brilliant habit which most of us need to build. Every book and article has something in it, and when you read, your imagination grows. As technology got in the way, many people are glued to their phones and we often find ourselves on Facebook, Twitter and other social media. When you don’t read you are missing out on many things, and the following are some of the reasons why you need to read every day:

Mental Simulation:

There are many studies which show that diseases like Alzheimer’s and Dementia can be prevented when people get mentally simulated. When you kept your brain active and occupied with things, you will not be losing the power of thinking, and just like the other muscles in the body your brain also needs constant exercise for it to be up and running.

Relieves Stress:

No matter how stressed you are, you can always come home to a book and immerse yourself in another world where all your stress will be gone. A great book makes you forget all the pressure you faced that day, and a well-written article will make you think deep and make you feel relaxed.


Reading is one of the best ways to improve your knowledge. Books are filled with information, and you will never know when a particular piece of information will come in handy. You might have noticed that people who read more happen to be brilliant and they tend to tackle challenges very easily. Knowledge is wealth which can never be plucked away from you and so keep reading and develop your knowledge.

Building your Vocabulary:

You might read a book or article in any language. Whichever language you are reading, you tend to learn the grammar of that language as you will be reading how each sentence is constructed. You don’t have to sit and learn your vocabulary for a particular language specifically; all you have to do is take a book and start reading. As time goes by you will become proficient in speaking and talking in that language.

Improves your Memory:

While reading you have to remember the plot of the story and all the characters in the book, and thus your brain starts to memorise them, and your memory will be improved without you even trying.

Analytical and thinking skills:

If you have ever read a good mystery novel or a thriller novel you would understand how the author would make you think what the end of the story might be; when you read stories like these, your brain starts to work, and you will be able to solve puzzles better.

Focus and concentration:

When you sit down to read all your attention and focus must be on the book you are reading; this might be hard in the initial stages but as you continue to read you will start to focus and improve your concentration.

An independent book review site published from England

A new book is born every day. We can also see that books are riding the waves of technology and evolving as we speak. Both traditional books and eBooks offer a wealth of information and entertainment. While you always gain something useful from books, the time spent reading one makes one seek for only the best and worthwhile.

We at A Common Reader believe that There is a book for Everyone.

We provide fun and concise book reviews to narrow down your search to only the cream of the crop–from the classics to the contemporary genres. Young or old, there is a book that can capture your imagination and satisfy your curiosity.

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We also affirm that Reading will never go passé.

Reading materials may change their form, but the wonder that they bring will always remain. It was an excellent source of knowledge in the past, and we see that it will thrive in the future.

Come and join us as we immerse ourselves in the remarkable world of books!



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