Saturday 7 May 2022


 In last week's blog post, I published five reviews for my latest literary venture - 'Dying to Know - Running through a Pandemic'. Here are five more, starting with one from within the publishing house, Matador/Troubador - but first a vanity shot. I can be indulged, I hope. Taken a week ago, I had just completed my virtual London Vitality 10K in 79minutes and 25 seconds. Mo Farrah managed the real thing in 28 minutes and 44 seconds - and lost to a 28 year-old club runner, Ellis Cross, from Aldershot, by four seconds. But heh! - they're younger and full of testosterone!  

I have just completed two circuits of my local training run - 3.5 miles from my house, up the hill to Little Trevalgan and back down, so 7 miles in total - in 01:29:36. My 10K (6.2 miles) time was 01:19:25.  

These days, getting a book accepted by a mainstream publisher, whatever its quality, is very difficult if you do not have the contacts that secure a place in the loop. I, like others, have turned to self-publishing and Troubador/Matador offer a very good service for those who can afford it. I'm saving hard to ensure

my next book can be published.

Here's a Matador editor's response to 'Dying to Know':

And here are four more reviews taken from the nine submitted so far on the Matador page for my book - press this link here to see more and order a copy of the book

“Dying to Know”, what a gem of a book. Author, Rob, a runner of marathons, takes us with him on his regular training runs from his home in Cornish St. Ives and into the neighbouring countryside. During this time, we are privy to his thoughts and the sights he sees along the route he is pounding. By the end of the twelve short chapters, the reader can almost imagine they can see the sea and hear the passing traffic.
It is a gloriously different kind of book which traces the first months of the pandemic as it hit the UK in early 2020. The sequence of events, the restrictions and lockdowns, details of which had already been forgotten by this reader, are catalogued in statistical detail as a reminder of this catastrophic period in our recent history. Rob’s thoughts and opinions of those in power will chime with many readers.
I found this book easy to read both in style and quality and am looking forward to the next outflowing from the pen of Rob Donovan.

by Jenny Fell

Rob Donovan is a talented author with the skill to present topics in a manor that quickly captures and holds the attention of readers. His writings reveal a man of conviction with world views founded in academic curiosity combined with life-years of experience. In Dying To Know, Donovan shares his views with readers, acknowledging that some views may not be those of his audience. But, this is at least in part the purpose of this book - to identify problems, propose solutions, and encourage constructive discourse in place of destructive polarized confrontations. In Dying To Know, Donovan presents a picture of the COVID-19 pandemic in a totally unique manner, that of a long distance runner pondering the many scientific, social, and political problems and revelations that accompanied this outbreak. His description of the global spread of COVID-19 and the virus which causes it is based on sound, peer-reviewed scientific and medical knowledge. Donovan's critique of pandemic prevention measures utilized or in many cases not, is illuminating and causes the reader to ponder how the onslaught of this virus might have been more effectively managed if persons in leadership positions had been more familiar or more willing to properly employ these measures. This scientifically sound description of pandemic events is refreshing in contrast to the volumes of misinformation and disinformation spread by some government entities and via many social media platforms. But, Dying To Know is not merely a treatise on the pandemic. Donovan presents a vivid and intriguing description of other life events, some of a personal nature and others at the societal level. Donovan's style is insightful, sometimes unconventional, often humourous, and always engaging. Rob Donovan, please keep writing books such as this!

by Howard Pue

Like a 21st century Pepys, Rob Donovan guides the reader through the early days of the COVID pandemic and beyond. During this journey many resonant layers of meaning reveal themselves through Dr. Donovan's idiosyncratic but compelling writing style. Historical, scientific, and economic matters merge with personal reflection, all of it expressed through the author's uniquely evocative literary voice. Ultimately, the book is a condemnation of our so-called leaders' astonishingly incompetent and unethical handling of the pandemic, and-- perhaps more importantly-- a heartfelt plea for humanity to find a better way forward. Dying to Know is an enlightening and inspiring book.

by Jessica Raber

A must-have if you (like so many others) have already lost track of what’s been going on during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In his accessible writing style, Rob Donovan shows you the beauty of his surroundings, the ugliness of political games and the wonders of science. On his journey he takes you way back into history, but also into the future, our future. He cares about you and me, he cares about the environment.
Another one of Rob’s books which reads like a train (Dutch expression!): Once you start to you cannot stop.

by Ingrid Helmer



And in case you missed it, here's a link to last week's post - just press here.

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