No catches, no fine print just unadulterated book loving, with your favourite books saved to your own digital bookshelf.
New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop Plus lots lots more…Find out more
James Crowden was born in Plymouth and brought up on the western edge of Dartmoor. He joined the army in 1972 and has travelled widely in the Middle East, Iran and Afghanistan. In 1976-77 he spent a winter in the Himalaya trapped for six months in the Zangskar Valley in Ladakh. He studied civil engineering at Bristol and anthropology at Oxford. After a spell in the Outer Hebrides he worked in Bristol Docks as a boatman and then in 1980 settled in Dorset and after five years migrated over the border into Somerset. He worked for twenty years as a casual agricultural labourer involved with cider making, night lambing, sheep shearing and forestry. His first book was Blood Earth & Medicine came out in 1991. Other books include In Time of Flood, Cider the Forgotten Miracle, Waterways, The Wheal of Hope, The Bad Winter, Dorset Man, Dorset Women, Dorset Coast, Dorset Footsteps. In 2009 Ciderland won the Andre Simon Food and Drink Award.
This unique resource explores Somerset’s extraordinarily rich and varied literary heritage just waiting to be re-discovered and re-visited. Many of the literary connections in Literary Somerset are well known: TS Eliot and East Coker, Wordsworth and Coleridge in the Quantocks; but did you know that Thomas Hardy once lived in Yeovil; or that Virginia Woolf had her honeymoon in Holford; or that John Steinbeck lived near Bruton to research the Arthurian legends; or that the weird electrical experiments of Andrew Crosse at Fyne Court inspired Frankenstein… or that the vicar of Isle Brewers was once sold for 25/- and then walked naked across Afghanistan; or that JRR Tolkein had his honeymoon in Clevedon and that Cheddar Gorge inspired Helm’s Deep in Lord of the Rings? Many of the First World War poets, such as Rupert Brooke and Edward Thomas came to Somerset; Isaac Rosenberg was born in Bristol; Siegfried Sassoon is buried in Mells. There is even the story of Breaker Morant, the Bridgwater-born Bush poet who was executed by firing squad during the Boer war. Speke of the Nile is buried in Dowlish Wake. Then there are the Waughs and the Powys clan. Aubrey Herbert even turned down the throne of Albania twice in favour of Dulverton and Yeovil.
'A tour de force of luminous writing.' Mark Cocker, Spectator 'Imagine if your family had lived in the mountains for a thousand years or more, what effect would that have upon your mind and your thinking?' In 1976 James Crowden left his career in the British army and travelled to Ladakh in the Northern Himalaya, one of the most remote parts of the world. The Frozen River is his extraordinary account of the time he spent there, living alongside the Zangskari people, before the arrival of roads and mass tourism. James immerses himself in the Zangskari way of life, where meditation and week-long mountain festivals go hand in hand, and silence and solitude are the hallmarks of existence. When butter traders invite James on their journey down the frozen river Leh, he soon realises that this way of living, unchanged for centuries, comes with a very human cost. In lyrical prose, James captures a crucial moment in time for this Himalayan community. A moment in which their Buddhist practices and traditions are in flux, and the economic pull of a world beyond their valley is increasingly difficult to ignore.