about the blog


book word is about books (of course), reading and writing them. It’s about the words writers use. And how they use them. And how reading and writing are in a dynamic partnership. Mostly fiction – novels and short stories – but poetry, biography, books about writing, books about books too.

‘When you write, you lay out a line of words,’ says Annie Dillard at the start of The Writing Life. ‘The line of words is a miner’s pick, a wood-carver’s gouge, a surgeon’s probe. You wield it and it digs a path you follow. Soon you find yourself deep in new territory. Is it a dead end, or have you located the real subject? You will know tomorrow, or this time next year.’ Words laying out a path to follow, taking the reader to a new place. In this blog I want to share ideas about how the writer does this, why, and to explore some of the new territories discovered along the way.

Writers are usually readers, and readers are often writers. The connection is explored in Francine Prose’s book: Reading like a writer: a guide for people who love books and for people who want to write them. Great title, great name! That’s my kind of book. So is Howards End is on the Landing, by Susan Hill, a series of essays about books and reading in her life.

I have some other passions in life, music and my grandchildren among them. But I’ll only refer to them in as far as they relate to books, reading, writing and words. Which of course means exploring stories and narrative, and illustrations, opera plots and …

I hope you get the picture of what appears in this blog. Not how to do anything, not a good reading or good writing guide, more a way of talking about writing.

Please join in, leave your comments, make demands, share opinions, develop arguments.

13 Responses to about the blog

  1. What a totally brilliant site. So glad I’ve found you.

  2. Caroline

    Thanks Pippa for your enthusiasm. Glad you found me! And thanks for subscribing.
    Looking forward to more comments from you.

  3. Hi Caroline,
    I love the blog! Just wanted to let you know I used a picture of yours, of Jean Rhys, to make this one: http://drinkingtraveller.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/41-young-j-Rhys.jpg
    Hope you don’t mind. Let me know if you do.

    • Caroline

      Hi Roy,
      It’s a nice thing you have done with that photo. To be honest I am not sure where I took it from. I guess I/we ought to be careful about copyright of images – as we would about people’s words.
      Thanks for the enthusiasm about the blog. Hope you visit again soon.


  4. Congratulations! I like your blog so much I have nominated it for the Liebster Award. To accept your award visit my blog http://wp.me/p3O5Jj-cY and follow the instructions.
    Happy blogging! Best wishes. Norah

  5. Hi

    We love your blog and would love to re-tweet/ tweet. Are you on Twitter?

    Also, we publish the city-pick series featuring some of the best writing on favourite world cities and wonder if you might like to look at any. Do check our website http://www.oxygenbooks.co.uk


    Malcolm, Oxygen Books

    • Caroline

      Thanks for your comment. And your city pick series is in danger of determining my foreign trips in the near future. Such a good idea.

  6. Sophie Tomlinson

    Hi Caroline,
    I have just discovered your blog and am loving it. I am in the process of reading all of it from the beginning. There is much that resonates – feminism, older women, writing, your commitment to the value of reading and books. I have recently embarked on a reading project to mark and celebrate my mother’s life. She died last year, was a great reader and I have inherited a lot of her books. I have decided to read a book published in each year of her life (1922 – 2014). I am going to stick to women writers but intend to include some children’s books so the list becomes a kind of interweaving of my life and my mother’s. The list is slowly evolving, intentionally so, and the reading will be similarly slow. I have begun in 1924 ( no need to read in strict order ) with The Crowded Street by Winifred Holtby. Might leap to 1952 next with The Borrowers which I adored as a child. Such beautiful writing. I am a (very) fledgling writer and particularly enjoy your writing posts. So many good ideas, encouragement, links and so on. Forgive such a long comment but I feel your blog is the one I’ve been waiting for and that you would appreciate my reading project. A small detail- I have subscribed, but didn’t get a confirmation email, so tried again but still no email. It doesn’t really matter, I can read your blog just as easily but it might affect your blog readers/followers stats. Warmest wishes, Sophie

    • Caroline

      Hi Stephanie, thanks for visiting Bookword and for leaving such a great comment.
      What a lovely way to honour your mother’s life. Perhaps you will be inspired to write your own blog about the experience. I love the idea of picking a book from all the years of her life.
      I have checked that your subscription has been received. It is waiting for a confirmation so I expect the system is just being very slow. I have reeived another new subscription since you wrote your comment so it is working in some ways. Next post is Sunday so check then.
      I look forward to lots more comments from you.
      Best wishes

      • Sophie Tomlinson

        Thanks, Caroline. I certainly intend to document my reading project and part of the whole process is thinking about how I want to write about it. It would be good to make it public in some way I think – I’ve felt the need to put the idea of it out there rather than just discuss it amongst friends, so who knows…. Whatever happens it feels important, and exciting.
        Looking forward to Sunday’s post. Meanwhile, I’m up to April 2014 on previous ones!
        Best wishes,

  7. I really enjoy this blog. Thank you.
    My own debut novel is about an older woman trying to turn her life around after she retires. Naturally, it appeals to women of a certain age and it is great that they identify with my protagonist. But I am surprised and delighted to find that readers of all ages – even much younger men – write to tell me that they too recognise those feelings of ‘Time to take stock – what have I done with my life?’ and ‘ Is there time to turn my life around?’
    I am sure something similar is true of the best ‘older women’ novels you have listed.

    • Caroline

      Thanks for this comment. Congratulations on your novel, and on reaching a wider readership than you might have expected. I’ll add you novel to the list when I next update it.
      I so agree with you comments about older women. So many people appear to assume that old people’s lives are defined by death, rather than the life they are in.

  8. Carol Ellis

    Caroline, I have only just discovered your blog but have read a couple of your books with great interest. So much so, that following in the footsteps of Sheffield U3A, I was wondering if you and Eileen would have any objections to me delivering a course, loosely based on your book ‘Retiring with Attitude’ and including some quotes from it, to members of my local U3A in South London? Many thanks and best wishes, Carol

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