The Booksmatter Blog

- because books do matter

Welcome to BOOKS MATTER!

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This is a blog about books and writing in which, I hope, the emphasis isn’t too much about me but instead is on books and writing generally.  You’ll see a roll of pages which, if you’re reading this on your PC, will be on the right and, if you’re reading on a tablet, phone or other device could be anywhere (but you’ll know where to find it on your screen).

Pages include About Me which, if nothing else, is refreshingly short, some attractive Ephemera of the Book Trade, a selection of Victorian Writers & Poets, as well as Have You Met? (some odd characters), and a host of comments on the writers’ life (mainly but not exclusively Crime Writers) collated as We Writers.  But why am I telling you this, when you can see the sections for yourself, simply by glancing over?

For the latest posts, of course, just scroll down.CWA Members Badge

Primarily, this is a blog for writers and readers, people who love books. (Though if you do want to know a little more about me or about any of my 20 or so books, check my website at ).

Most of my books, including those in Kindle versions, can be found at Amazon, by clicking here: <>

For NOOK downloads:

Whatever else you do, please check back in to BOOKS MATTER from time to time.  You never know what you’ll find.

Russell James  

Written by Russell James

April 7, 2014 at 4:52 pm

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My Book of the Month:

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(Why shouldn’t I include the occasional piece of self-promotion?)

Easily my most controversial yet most successful book (both in terms of sales and critical response), PAINTING IN THE DARK remains the book I recommend to anyone wanting to try me for the first time.  That’s why I’ve made it my BOOK OF THE MONTH.

It was dubbed “His masterpiece to date” by The Guardian

and “A terrific, cultured tale of crime for the sake of art” by The Times

Did you read it at the time?  Would you like to read it now?

You can read more about the book – including those rave reviews – here:

You can find the Kindle version by clicking the link below the picture:

Painting in the Dark

Painting in the Dark

Buy from Amazon

Written by Russell James

April 7, 2014 at 4:12 pm

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Back when we bought books

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Nash book tokenBack before the days when we bought books in book shops and Book Tokens were made to look like rip-off store cards, they were attractive things made of paper and, astonishingly, might be designed by an artist of the stature of John Nash.

How would you like one of those for your birthday?  (Even if it doesn’t look a typical Nash.)

That’s when a present felt like a present.

< sigh >

Written by Russell James

February 18, 2014 at 5:12 pm

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Thackeray speaks to Michael Gove

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red indian boyWhen they think of youth today a perennial dream of many politicians is a return to Victorian values.  But here is Thackeray (a Tory, remember) musing in Vanity Fair (published 1847):

“If people would but leave children to themselves; if teachers would cease to bully them; if parents would not insist on directing their thoughts and dominating their feelings – those thoughts and feelings which are a mystery to all (for how much do you and I know of each other, of our children, of our fathers, of our neighbour, and how far more beautiful and sacred are the thoughts of the poor lad or girl whom you govern likely to be than those of the world-corrupted person who rules him?) – if, I say, parents and masters would leave their children alone a little more, small harm would accrue . . . ”

Written by Russell James

January 24, 2014 at 4:39 pm

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armchair readingWords need to be sown like seed. No matter how tiny a seed may be, when it lands in the right sort of ground it unfolds its strength and from being minute it expands and grows to a massive size.
- Seneca’s letters number XXXVIII

Written by Russell James

December 5, 2013 at 7:01 pm

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EXIT 39 – an iPhone novel

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E39 3An iPhone novel?

The world of publishing is changing.  The digital revolution has sent the skittles flying, and publishers don’t know how to pick them up again, let alone how to set the nine pins straight.  They’re concentrating on first-time novelists and established best-sellers.  The rest of us, the middle ground, are frozen out.

But writers can change too.  We can speak directly to you, our readers, via that same digital technology and, on that theme, my latest novel, EXIT 39, has the twist that instead of being typed in the usual way it has been narrated into an iPhone.  So what more natural than that I should launch it exclusively as an ebook?  (In all formats, of course – Kindle, Kobo, Nook or however you prefer.)

Should you bother?  Take a look.  Just click the link and, if you like it, please tell you friends – as many as possible!

Click here:

Be part of it, and enjoy Exit 39!

Written by Russell James

November 29, 2013 at 4:46 pm

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After 500 years, what have we learnt about sex?

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Erasmus wrote IN PRAISE OF FOLLY in 1509.  It’s still a good read.  For example:

How ridiculous we men are, Erasmus wrote, or at least, how ridiculously we have been constructed. Consider how our construction makes us breed: “Is it the head, the face, the breasts, the hands, the ears or other more comely parts that serve for instruments of generation?  Believe it or not, it is that member of our body which is so odd and uncouth that it can scarce be mentioned  without a smile. This part, then, is the fountain of life from which springs everything.”

And consider how unthinkingly our sexual desires cause us to behave: “What man would be so silly as to run his head into the collar of a matrimonial noose if (as a wise man surely would) he had first considered the inconveniences of married life?  What woman would open her arms to receive the embrace of a husband if she had first considered the pains of childbirth and the plague of nursing the child?”

Written by Russell James

August 19, 2013 at 4:36 pm

Posted in Uncategorized


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