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At Read by the River, I review books on location. I want to offer book reviews that take into account how books seem different when read in different places. All book reviews are subjective, but this one will go the extra mile, leaving behind any attempt to objectively tell you whether or not this is a good book, and tell you instead all about my experience of reading it. Depending on how absorbing the book is, or how distracting the place is, you might hear more or less about the writing itself.

I’ll review mainly well-known books, so you know what I’m on about. I can’t claim that I’m going to do the kind of reviews that will help you decide whether or not to buy the book. But I might give you some ideas about where you could read it.

Now, I don’t read books just anywhere. The location has to be appropriate somehow. Maybe there’s an obvious connection between the setting of the novel and the place where I read it. Maybe there’s a connection with the author. Maybe there’s an obvious disconnection (I doubt I’ll ever get a chance to read a book about the Arctic on location, so why not tell you about reading it on the train, which is where most people will read it anyway). Maybe, if it’s a really absorbing book, it doesn’t matter where you read it.

Of course, this is just a bit of fun really. I’m not going to uncover any great literary truths. It comes from a love of reading, and a (possibly misguided) attempt to explore the relationship between the book and the world.

If anyone has any suggestions, I’d be delighted to hear them. Harry Potter in The Elephant House café in Edinburgh? The Remains of the Day in a National Trust house? Wuthering Heights in the Yorkshire Dales? Drop me a line on tim[underscore]halpin [at] hotmail [dot] com.



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  1. paul / Mar 5 2012 7:52 pm

    Hi there. Sorry to do this through the blog but I could not find a contact for you. I have been enjoying your posts a lot and would like to do a little feature about Read by the River on my own blog/website Under a Grey Sky. You should be able to see my email address via the comment, and it would be great if you could drop me a line. Thanks, Paul.

  2. dianajhale / Mar 14 2012 8:48 pm

    Love the idea and I shall follow you. Found you via Under a Grey Sky. I’ll see if I can think of any suggestions!

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