Adventures in Reading

Journeys in books, libraries and bibliophilia

Adventures in Reading is a monthly newsletter of short essays about my life as a reader. I hold reading to be a creative act, and one that is fundamental to my experiences of writing, literature programming and producing, and being part of a community both locally and across the world.

Through sharing my Adventures, I hope to share and gather book recommendations, experiment with different reading strategies, and to connect with likeminded bibliophiles.

Taking in reading, libraries, and the many joys and curiosities of books, I trace a path through the pages of a huge diversity of books and authors across fiction, non-fiction and poetry. I also look at other ways of reading and of seeing: photography, archives, tarot, to name a few.

I release a new essay at the end of each month. Find the archive and subscribe here to follow my adventures. See below for past Adventures and some more about my process in producing them.

I hold reading to be a creative act, and one that is fundamental to my experiences of writing, literature programming and producing, and being part of my communities both locally and across the world.

The story so far

One of the purposes of my Adventures in Reading is to help me find paths and connections between the many, varied books and authors that I come across. To take this further, I’ve started to keep a visual representation of the Adventures in the form of a mindmap. So far, Ursula K. LeGuin’s The Left Hand of Darkness, S. R. Ranganathan’s 5 Laws of Library Science and Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s The Visible and the Invisible have proved to be key texts that I return to as I journey through my reading. Click the link opposite to see the mindmap as it stands, or take a look at the full reading list at the bottom of this page.

AiR mindmap v1. View and download a larger version via the link below:

“A book holds many stories”

Waypoints include: Kolkata Literary Meet – Chirodeep Chaudhuri and Jerry Pinto – Caroline Bergvall and the forensic principle – S. R. Ranganathan, again – the lives of books – a photo essay

Released 31 July 2020


“Waves of histories, parallel stories”

Waypoints include: literature as a buoy – urgency/ indolence – reading the news & The White Pube’s list – Panashe Chigumadzi on the waters of history – Meena Kandasamy – questions of fiction/ non-fiction, action/ inaction, complicity & cushioning –  dwelling in complexity

Released 22 June 2020


“The writing of containment to the gift of the hard won word”

Waypoints include: slippery words – Sara Baume on making – Lorina Bulwer – parallel time – Ellah P. Wakatama on Marilyn Robinson – the gift of the hard-won word

Released 01 June 2020


“The Library of Aimless Yet Meaningful Pursuits to the writing of containment”

Waypoints include: questions of ontology – an invented alphabet – linguistic exclusivity – Khairani Barokka on Cok Sawitri – hiding in plain sight – the writing of containment

Released 31 March 2020


“111.0 to The Library of Aimless Yet Meaningful Pursuits”

Waypoints include: the library ritual – Melvil Dewey – other ways of ordering books – S. R. Ranganathan and the Five Laws of Library Science – “The Library of Aimless Yet Meaningful Pursuit”

Released 28 February 2020


“Invisibility to 111.0”

Waypoints include: the elver of an idea – Ursula Le Guin’s seed bag – Katherine Angel – the Empress – Denise Riley – Maurice Merleau-Ponty

Released 31 January 2020


The AiR reading list

Here you can find all of the texts and resources I’ve encountered on my Adventures so far, in alphabetical order by author surname.

Angel, Katherine. Daddy Issues. London: Peninsula Press, 2019.

Barokka, Khairani. “Translation of/as Absence, Sanctuary, Weapon”. The Poetry Review 108:2 (2018). Available online.

Baume, Sara. Handiwork. Dublin: Tramp Press, 2020.

Bergvall, Caroline. Drift. New York: Nightboat Books, 2014.

Brut Tarot deck. Illustrated by Linnea Gits. Upper Peninsula, Michigan: Uusi, 2015.

Bulwer, Lorina. Various embroideries transcribed by Ruth Fleming, The Costume and Textile Study Centre, Norwich Castle Study Centre. The transcriptions are available online here. Accessed 3rd June 2018.

Burwood, Ruth. “Looking for Lorina”. Textiles on the Edge website, 2013. Available online here. Accessed 18 May 2020. 

Chaudhuri, Chirodeep, and Pinto, JerryIn The City, A Library. Exhibition at Gallery 88, Kolkata. Visited 23 January 2018. See also:

Chigumadzi, Panashe. These Bones Will Rise Again. London: The Indigo Press, 2018. Buy it online here.
Crawshaw, Gill. “Lorina Bulwer’s mind worked fast, but her method was slow”. Shoddy Exhibition website, 2016. Available online here. Accessed 18 May 2020. 

Dewey, Melvil. The Dewey Decimal Classification. First published Amherst, MA: 1876. Try this Project Gutenberg version.

Gressenhall Farm & Workhouse Museum. “Voices from the Workhouse” exhibition, May 2014.

Hustvedt, Siri. A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women: Essays on Art, Sex, and the Mind. London: Sceptre, 2017.
Kandasamy, Meena. Exquisite Cadavers. London: Atlantic Books, 2019.
Kandasamy, Meena. When I Hit You. London: Atlantic Books, 2017.

Korneliussen, Niviaq. Crimson. Translated by Anna Halager. London: Virago, 2019.
Le Guin, Ursula K. The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction. Introduced by Donna Haraway. London: Ignota Books, 2019.

Le Guin, Ursula K. The Left Hand of Darkness. Introduced by China Mieville. London: Gollancz, 2017.

Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. The Visible and the Invisible. Translated by Alphonso Lingis. Evanston: Northwestern UP, 1968.

OOMK (Heiba Lamara, Sofia Niazi and Rose Nordin). “The Library of Aimless Yet Meaningful Pursuit” in The Library Was. London: Book Works, 2016.
Prelinger, Rick and Megan Shaw Prelinger.The Library as a Map: an interview with Rick Prelinger and Megan Shaw Prelinger” in Contents #5, 2013. Accessed 19/02/2020. An edited version appears in Fantasies of the Library.
Prelinger, Rick and Megan Shaw Prelinger.The Library’s Organisational System”. Accessed 20/02/2020.
Ranganathan, S. R. Colon Classification. First published Madras: Madras Library Association, 1933.
Ranganathan, S. R. The Five Laws of Library Science. Madras: Madras Library Association, 1931. Also quoted in The Library Was. 

Reynolds, Flo. “Mapping Stories”. National Centre for Writing website, 2018. Available online here. Accessed 2020.
Riley, Denise. Time Lived, Without its Flow. Introduced by Max Porter. London: Picador, 2019.

Robinson, MarilynWhen I Was a Child, I Read Books. Quoted in Wakatama 2020.

Saxl, Fritz. “The History of Warburg’s Library” in Aby Warburg: An Intellectual Biography, ed. Ernst Gombrich. London: The Warburg Institute, 1970. Quoted in Fantasies of the Library.
Springer, Anna-Sophie, and Etienne Turpin, eds. Fantasies of the Library. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2016.

Wakatama, Ellah P. “Will we remember all of this in the After?”, National Centre for Writing website. Available online here. Accessed 20 May 2020.