Tuesday 4 June 2013

The songlines by Bruce Chatwin

Chatwin is writing a book about Nomads but has reached a point where it’s just not flowing properly but he travels to Australia to find out more about the Aborigine Songlines and the book he was writing changes. Part travelogue, part meditation on nomadism, part philosophy this is a hard book to categorise. Chatwin has a really engaging writing style and he meets a collection of interesting characters.


Overall - It didn’t blow me away as much as his [in Patagonia] but still a really good read.


Unbuilt city by Eugene Byrne
 photo Unbuilt-Bristol1-1.jpg



Eugene Byrne is a local author whose fiction books are well worth checking out (Thigmoo & Things unborn and the book he co-wrote with Kim Newman Back in the USSA) he’s also a journalist and a historian who has written a few GN about Darwin and Bristol. In this, his latest book, he has excelled by creating one of the best guides to the “may have been” there is out there. The built environment in Bristol has a long history and Byrne explores the period between 1750-2050 to find the buildings, monuments and other structures that have been proposed for Bristol that didn’t get built. From the amazing bridge on the cover – imagine if that had been built! To statues that failed to be placed on the fountains outside the council offices to a Victorian plan to place the main railway station in the heart of Bristol (instead we have two on the outskirts). Some of these stories are surprising, some are quirky, others are just plain odd and the book is both informative and entertaining. I highly recommend this book regardless of whether you’re familiar with Bristol or not as it shows that the built environment is shaped just as much by what isn’t built as it is by what is and includes some really interesting history.


Overall – Great resource and very entertaining history

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