As a reader, it’s a real treat to discover a new contemporary writer, and then explore what they’ve done, until you get to the point when you’re eagerly waiting for the next instalment to arrive. Rebecca Solnit is a one-off; really interesting, individual and thoughtful, and always into something different. I first met her in the London Review of Books, and then got hold of a book she’s written about popular movements that succeed (a treasured volume for hardened lefties, well used to noble failure). Then I read Wanderlust, a wide-ranging history of walking which draws on more sources than I’ve ever dreamt of. A couple of months ago she had a great article in LRB about the way e-mails and phones impact on the way we live (NOT simple Luddism, very careful and precise). And now I’ve rashly bought the Faraway Nearby, her latest, which is a bit like Montaigne. Apparently rambling essays go for a walk, but keep returning to chime off each other, strike up relationships suggest parallels. No, not rashly. I knew I’d love it, and I do.