The Changing Forest: Life in the Forest of Dean Today by Dennis Potter

bookshelves: published-1962, summer-2014, forest, fradio, nonfiction, autobiography-memoir, essays, politics

Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from June 07 to 13, 2014



Description: Dennis Potter was born and brought up in the Forest of Dean, a place he described as a heart-shaped place between two rivers, somehow slightly cut off from the rest of England. This book, first published in 1962, is Potter’s personal study of that small area – its people, traditions, ceromonies and institutions – at a time of profound cultural and social change. He describes the fabric of a world whose old ways are yielding to the new: the collieries closing, the chapels emptying, the local clubs and brass bands harder to sustain. He asks whether the gains of modernity have, for the individuals and society he evokes, been worth the loss.

Episode 1: Revisiting his birthplace, Dennis Potter found the Forest of Dean in a state of profound uncertainty. Read by Robert Glenister.

Episode 2: No job for life: For the Forest of Dean’s coal-mining community, pit closures in 1961 sparked traumatic change.

Episode 3: Empty Pews: In 1961, the old Chapel religion of the Forest of Dean was losing its grip on the local community.

Episode 4: Out With the Old: he Forest of Dean elders remembered the past, while the young embraced what was new.

Episode 5: A Time of Tension: Change can breed insecurity or opportunity. For Forest of Dean locals in 1961, it sparked tension.

Goodrich Castle

Clearwell Caves and the Royal Forest of Dean Iron Mining Museum

The Music: There’s a Land Between Two Rivers – FOREST OF DEAN MALE VOICE CHOIR

Dennis Potter resigned from his post as a trainee with the BBC because he was writing this book with political bias, making a conflict of interest.

Used to spend alternate weekends at the Christchurch, Berry Hill camping site (every other w/e at Port Eynon campsite, The Gower)so I love the place. I’m sure that my repeated visits set the need for a forest vista deep into my psyche. How sad to see that Christchurch is now closed to tents, it has become a lodge site: the changing forest comes into play once more.

Trivia – Jimmy Young was born and bred in Cinderford

The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick

bookshelves: fraudio, summer-2014, historical-masturbation, published-1962, sci-fi, wwii, slaves, tbr-busting-2014, books-about-books-and-book-shops

Read from May 08 to June 06, 2014


Narrated by George Guidall -A Hugo Award Winner

Description: In his critically-acclaimed science fiction novel, Philip K. Dick creates a shocking vision of the United States of the 60s that stands in direct opposition to history’s records of that uninhibited decade. The Axis have won World War II, Japan and Germany occupy America, Nazi rockets rule the skies, and slaves again are forced to serve harsh masters.

This is an alternative history that supercedes Fatherland etc. An intelligent use of divination far superior to ‘Dice Man’, although just as ludicrous of course. Enjoyed the idea of syphillitic Hitler in the madhouse, however it is the book with in a book trope that gets me every time and this one is called The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, by Hawthorne Abendsen.

3* Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
4* A Scanner Darkly
3.5* The Man in the High Castle
3* The Minority Report
3* Galactic Pot-Healer

The Rose of Tibet

bookshelves: mystery-thriller, tibet, published-1962, under-500-ratings, adventure, hardback, handbag-read, paper-read, spring-2014, casual-violence, one-penny-wonder, ouch, religion, buddhism, a-questing-we-shall-go

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Karen Witzler
Read from May 15 to 27, 2014


Bagged a first edition hardback. Smashing. The prologue states that this story is mostly true so even though some of it may appear ‘out there’ Charles Duguid Houston’s story is, we assured, a fictionalised account of a true adventure. He left for Inda in 1950, and returned on a stretcher in 1951 with a sensational story to tell.

Opening: In the summer of 1949, when he was twenty-seven, Houston found himself having an affair with a married woman. She was thirty, and he was not in love with her, and he had only gone into it because he was bored and lonely. He didn’t think that the affair would outlast the summer, but it did, and by the autumn, when he started school again he was wondering how to end it. He was a bit digusted with himself.

Charles’s half brother, Hugh Whittington, is missing, presumed dead after an avalanche in Tibetan pass, and for the life insurance company to pay out to the families of the four men team, death certificates will have to be acquired. Restless, weary of his art teacher job, and ambivalent regarding the two women in his life, Charles makes the journey…

Great adventure tale along the lines of ‘She’ and ‘Lost Horizon’