Poem of the week: Among His Books by Edith Nesbit

Words will never hurt me … a shelf of books at the Bodleian Library, OxfordWords will never hurt me … a shelf of books at the Bodleian Library, Oxford Photograph: Adam Woolfitt/Corbis

Few novelist-poets are as little known for their poetry as Edith Nesbit. An outstanding children’s writer, whom most of us probably first met as E Nesbit, author of the much-dramatised The Railway Children, she produced 21 collections of poetry and numerous adult novels and story collections too. She was a political radical, a founder member of theFabian Society, and collaborated on various works with her first husband, Hubert Bland, under the nom de plume Fabian Bland. Her poems continue to turn up in anthologies, and they are well worth searching out.



RoboCop book cover

Novel approach … RoboCop inspires Tutis artwork for Jack London. Photograph: Cine Text/Allstar/Sportsphoto Ltd

I have spoken before of my love for the website Good Show Sir, which collects the best of the worst science fiction covers out there: check outThe Wild Alien Tamer, which comes with the wonderful caption: “As if the creature in the star-spangled thong isn’t enough, I find my eyes drawn to the creature at the rear: “‘What are you gonna do? I’m a giant bat, bitches!'”


Halloween pumpkin

Enough light to read by? … a Halloween pumpkin. Photograph: Tim Gartside / Alamy

As mornings take on the first breath of winter chill and evenings draw in our thoughts turn to things which go bump in the night. What’s that coming around the corner? It’s Halloween. As the sun sets and the trick or treaters gain a foot in height and a whole lot of attitude, you’ll soon be wishing you were curled up in a back room with a favourite book.


October Poster Poems

In a new light … October dawns with a late sunrise through golden autumn leaves. Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

And so we come to the 10th month, October, whose name means “eighth”, of course; those Romans were out to confuse us all. In the northern hemisphere, the month of October is high autumn, which means that in the southern hemisphere it’s high spring. Confused yet? I am.


Reader reviews roundup

JK Rowling holding a copy of The Casual VacancyReviewers debate the merit of JK Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy. Photograph: Ian West/PA

Reviews for JK Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy continued to flood in this week: eight days after its release and those first, stand-alone opinions are forming part of an exciting debate. Any knee-jerk reactions offered up to cyber space are now being given the once-over by readers seeking the ever-powerful last word.