What I’ve been reading this week, 18 January 2019

I’ve had a busy week, working on Sidetracked Vol.14, the first draft of a novel from one of my regular clients, and my ongoing duties at The Great Outdoors.


The Search for England’s Forgotten Footpaths – ‘Going for an unremarkable walk in the English countryside – damp hedges, a church, the smell of wood smoke – has a lot in common with other old British freedoms. Everyone swears by it, though no one knows quite how it works.’

What I’ve Been Reading Online Recently – very glad to see that Chris Townsend has adopted this format for sharing links. The more content we keep in the open web, and out of the closed content black holes, the better.

The Week in Review 289 – speaking of which, here’s Hendrik Morkel’s 289th Week in Review, one of the longest-running blog digests of outdoor links I’m aware of.

Day 72 of #WalkNZ: The Tongariro Alpine Crossing – Katrina Megget faces a tough section on her massive long-distance New Zealand hike.

What if the outdoors is not the answer? – an interesting piece from Tom Smallwood. I can relate to much of what he says here.

Cerro Vicuñas, the world’s easiest 6,000m peak? Quite possibly – an excellent trip report from Mark Horrell’s latest high-altitude expedition (or should that be stroll?).

Writing and publishing

Opinion: If You Need Fancy Dialogue Tags, There’s Something Wrong with Your Writing – ‘I cautiously agree with this,’ Alex said, then added, ‘The vast majority of dialogue tags are superfluous, and even annoying, but occasionally it’s ok to use one for the sake of variety and rhythm. It’s possible to over-optimise your prose.’

What the Jill Abramson book scandal tells us about publishing’s fact-checking problem – what a mess. Fact-checking is an important part of my job as an editor. It should be an important part of the publishing process for every book, but corners are being cut throughout the industry.


Why Is the Night Sky Dark? – instant perspective.

You Deserve Privacy Online. Here’s How You Could Actually Get It – I’ve been keeping tech stories off this blog as much as possible (since I now have a whole new blog for that purpose) but this piece by Tim Cook is important. I have many gripes with the Apple of this decade, but they are the only tech giant with an ethical and sustainable approach to privacy. I hope they continue to put pressure on Google and Facebook.

By Alex Roddie

Award-winning outdoor and nature writer, editor, author, and photographer.

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