Make your own free website on



     Along with art and music, literature has always been present in my life, playing a special role, fixing milestones, opening up new horizons and allowing me to wander off down roads at times when physical traveling wasn't possible.
But as soon as it was possible I found that there's nothing better than wandering aimlessly through the back-streets of some foreign town and chancing upon a bookshop, walking in and looking through the shelves and seeing what's there. What a way to combine 2 of my favourite pastimes, traveling and reading. I made it a must to always bring back a book or a print from my travels and then as soon as the idea was ripe, write about the souvenirs, souvenirs that ultimately found their way into publications such as here.

The choice of my reading material varied enormously depending on the period.

...School got me reading Oedipus Rex and Antigone, Shakespeare, I even played one of Macbeth's killers in a school theatre production.

...Curiosity got me reading Homer, fortunately a reader-friendly, story form version and not the original verse, making it all the more enjoyable.

...Courage got me reading Checkov's The Cherry Orchard, Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment and of course Tolstoi's War and Peace!!!

...Life got me reading virtually anything and everything under the sun...

...from the mystical and mythical ...and the funny... to...

...Science fiction, with

Isaac Asimov - Father of the 3 laws of Robotics

Arthur C Clarke

...Science fantasy, with

Michael Moorcock

Dan Simmons- Hyperion

... so called techno-thrillers, with amongst others

*NB. Tom Clancy was just one of a number of people writing "Techno-Thrillers". Authors like Patrick Robinson (specializing in Naval Techno-thrillers), Dale Brown (ex USAF), Clive Cussler (N.U.M.A.) and Chris Ryan (ex  S.A.S) have all realized that there is a demand for this type of literature thus making it more accessible to people like me.

...Some excellent bed-time reading, from a master of the genre

...Some more from an all time master

...Some obscure... because youthful curiosity insists on going into dark corners ...

  Long before I started reading Tom Clancy I had, like every English boy then, been reading all the Alistair Maclean books, and other such war stories of the same style. They all depicted the war in a very heroic patriotic manner and always from an allied forces perspective. The Brits and the Americans were always the heroes and the Germans always the bad guys and of course I wasn't aware,at the time, that Germany actually had a resistance movement and that the subtle and ambiguous manoeuvres of Germany's "Official" Counter-Espionage/Counter-Intelligence service, the Abwehr, sometimes served to the Allied cause to best suit their own ends!

Strangely enough, it was around the same that I started reading JRR Tolkien's Lord of the rings I also started reading the works of a Danish author. This Danish author turned my vision of the 02nd World War upside down and at the age of 19 or 20 my blind faith in all things "Authority" got rattled.
In his books, he describes the experiences of a soldier confronted with the Nazi penal system the subsequent life of a dissident deserter in one the Wehrmacht's disciplinary regiments, the 27th Panzer regiment.
His books were all written in Danish and translated into English.The tone and style of the initial translations was classical, dark and sombre and true to the original autobiographical recitals. The later books were translated into a more modern vernacular style and were hilarious. The Name of the Author? Sven Hassel.

NB. Sven Hassel became minor cult figure in the 60s & 70's. Personally I bought all his books during the 70's, starting with "March Battalion" before the vagaries of life made me part with them and turn a page, so to speak. It was only very recently, and in the course of research for my website "PlanetWaves133, a site consecrated to Militaria that I came across reference to the Wehrmacht's disciplinary regiments. For more, unofficial, info concerning Sven Hassel here's a website that might be interesting to fans:

...Some unclassable, with

...Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot... and his "little grey cells"

or Raymond Chandler's Phillip Marlowe

(Special cover illustration: Nighthawks by Edward Hooper)

And last but not least some literature that really marked me, the works of ...JRR Tolkien

...with the Hobbit

...the Silmarilion

As well as a selection of other works including the unfinished tales by J.R.R.Tolkien,published by his son Christopher after Tolkien's death.
The collection contains details and information that Tolkien worked on that he either integrated into his work or put a side for future use that in view of the great interest shown for his works from the time they were first published (I started reading them in the 1970's) right up to the release of the 01st of the trilogy "LOTR" films in 2001...

...With last, but not least, the book that was really his life work, around which his other works revolved and influenced generations of readers...

...The Lord of the Rings

©Nick Richards Nov 2003, updated Sept 2016