Longbourn - Jo Baker

| | From Reading

Wonderful. I absolutely loved this retelling of Pride and Prejudice from the servants' perspective - plus we hear about the Napoleonic Peninsula War, from a more down to earth and less lucky version of Sharpe. Publisher's page: Longbourn - Jo... Read more

Love and Louis XIV - Antonia Fraser

| | From Reading

In the words of Rachel, who lent it to me, Antonia Fraser's biography of Louis XIV really does help you to make sense of all the ladies in the Sun King's life (and in Versailles). As well as explaining complicated... Read more

Walking Home - Simon Armitage

| | From Reading

Poet Simon Armitage walks the Pennine Way, north to south, from Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders home to Marsden, giving nightly poetry readings to pay his way. Smashing. And of course, I now want to do the Pennine Way....... Read more

The London Train - Tessa Hadley

| | From Reading

Two sides of an affair; two sets of families and friends. I didn't enjoy the first story-side - perhaps I wasn't meant to find Paul a likeable character (which I didn't). For me, Cora was more interesting, and sympathetic. Publisher's... Read more

Where next: A few days on Skye

| | From Blog

Phil and I have booked ourselves a long weekend in Skye (An t-Eilean Sgitheanach or Eilean a' Cheò), taking the Caledonian Sleeper from London to Fort William (An Gearasdan) and back, hiring a car from Practical Rental - Fort William... Read more

A backfill entry for my fantastic fortnight in Iran on Wild Frontiers's Land of the Peacock Throne recce tour in 2007. Almost a decade ago now, most of the detail comes from the photos in my Iran - Land of... Read more

Outlander - Diana Gabaldon

| | From Reading

Cast aside this morning, I can't bear to read any more of this tawdry trash. Historical fiction plus time travel sounded enticing but after a promising start it's endless chapters of Brigadoon meets Fifty Shades of Grey. Dorothy Dunnett did... Read more

Small town American (Argus, North Dakota) life starting in the aftermath of World War I with the arrival of German immigrant master butcher Fidelis Waldvogel and running through the Great Depression, the build up to War War II and coming... Read more

2016: Twelve Months of Photos & Books

| | From Blog

I thought I'd take a look back over 2016 in terms of my photos on Flickr and the Reading entries on SparklyTrainers, and pick a favourite image and a favourite book for each month. Here goes: January Photo A beautiful... Read more

Nostalgic nourishment for Eighties pop and a Brummie upbringing. Originally bought for John Taylor super-fan Jenny, I'm glad I had a read before handing it on. Publisher's page: In The Pleasure Groove: Love, Death & Duran Duran - John Taylor... Read more

Phil and I spent a lovely week in Walton to say farewell to 2016 and to welcome in 2017. After finishing off the left overs ... ... and fuelled by daily afternoon doses of Christmas cake and tea and plenty... Read more

Murder in the Hindu Kush - Tim Hannigan

| | From Reading

Very readable account of the life (and death) of Victorian explorer, George Hayward, with lots of "probably"s thrown into a history of The Great Game in the far west of China and the Princely States that the British Empire ceded... Read more

John Pilkington's account of his adventures on the Silk Road in the late 1980s is sadly showing its age now - both as geopolitics continue to shift, and other writers have followed in his footsteps and (in my opinion) enjoyed... Read more

Burned - Benedict Jacka

| | From Reading

The third and last in my Benedict Jacka / Alex Verus binge and it ends on a cliff hanger!! Warning: Spoilers I wondered how the Dragon's prophecy would come true.... but it looks like Alex's life is going to get... Read more

Winter Walking Trins: Photos & Notes

| | From Blog

No snow, which made the Winter Walking in the Austrian Tyrol rather tame. A lovely group though, and an excellent Exodus leader. Photos are in my Austria, December 2016 album on Flickr, and here's what we did: Saturday 17 December... Read more

Veiled - Benedict Jacka

| | From Reading

I polished off Veiled during the journey from the Barbican to Trins - reading about air magic when in the air (thankfully above the fog). Alex Verus joins Caldera ... as an Auxiliary Keeper. An ex-Dark Mage working for the... Read more

Hidden - Benedict Jacka

| | From Reading

I've borrowed the next three novels in Benedict Jacka's Alex Verus series to read over Christmas and just about managed to finish Hidden before heading off to the Austrian Tyrol for my Winter Walking, Trins trip.... leaving the remaining pair... Read more

American Wife - Curtis Sittenfeld

| | From Reading

Fictional autobiography of FLOTUS Alice Blackwell, although mirroring the life and times of Laura Bush. A lot more soul searching and inner conflict than I'd expect. Not until now do I realise that Curtis Sittenfeld is a woman. Author's webpage:... Read more

Autumn in Ladakh: Photos & Notes

| | From Blog

With greater brevity than usual (in the interests of getting my photos onto Flickr before my next trip), here's what we did on this year's Autumn in Ladakh trip. You'll find my photos in my Ladakh, September 2016 album on... Read more

The Wolf Border - Sarah Hall

| | From Reading

Unexpectedly still in Cumbria, after an initial introduction to lead character Rachel Caine in Idaho where she's been living and working on a Nez Perce reservation, reintroducing wolves. Rachel is persuaded to return "home" by Thomas Pennington, the The Earl... Read more

About Me

Born and brought up in Solihull, I studied at St Andrews and in Chester before coming to live and work in London.

I've done a variety of jobs in the legal sector, focusing on the knowledge management and technology side of things since 2000. You'll find details on LinkedIn.

SparklyTrainers is about my world outside work. As you'll see, I love to travel, take photos and read.

I tweet (sporadically) as @maryloosemore

My email is [my firstname] @ [my surname].com

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