2015 reading challenge, 2016 reading challenge, Books, LGBT, Other, Recommendations

I’ve been in another reading fug, but luckily I really like Star Wars

For a person who loves to read, I sure do get reading blocks often. Sometimes, I’m just not enjoying what I’m reading. This happens most when I feel like I ought to read something – because it was a gift, or I’ve borrowed it, or it’s a recommendation I’m not convinced about. But other times, I really am enjoying it, but rarely pick it up. It’s disheartening, and baffling. At times like this, I’ll wander from book to book until I find one that snaps me out of it. Recently, I’ve abandoned three books partway through: Continue reading “I’ve been in another reading fug, but luckily I really like Star Wars”

2015 reading challenge, Books, LGBT

Book challenge #34 – A book with bad reviews

The Paying Guests – Sarah Waters

“For was that all, she thought bleakly, that love ever was? Something that saved one from loneliness? A sort of insurance policy against not counting?” Continue reading “Book challenge #34 – A book with bad reviews”

2015 reading challenge, Books

Friendship – Emily Gould

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Scout was very interested in this

Friendship, Emily Gould

I rescued this from a friend when she was having a bit of a book clear-out a couple of months ago, because a) the cover was pretty and b) there was a quote from Chad Harbach on the front saying how much he liked it. And as The Art Of Fielding is absolutely incredible, I figured he was probably right. I picked it up from my toe-read pile on a day when I knew I’d be spending a lot of time on trains and waiting around. It led to me being on the Bakerloo line, surrounded by men on their way to the rugby, telling one of them that he needed to read it so that he would “learn how to get friends mate” and so on. Continue reading “Friendship – Emily Gould”

2015 reading challenge, Adventures, Books, Recommendations

Book challenge #33: A book you started but never finished

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A Room Of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf

“But, you may say, we asked you to speak about women and fiction – what has that got to do with a room of one’s own? I will try to explain.” Continue reading “Book challenge #33: A book you started but never finished”

2015 reading challenge, Books, Feminism, LGBT

Book challenge #32: A book with antonyms in the title

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? Jeanette Winterson

Truth for anyone is a very complex thing. For a writer, what you leave out says as much as those things you include. What lies beyond the margin of the text? The photographer frames the shot; writers frame their world. Mrs Winterson objected to what I had put in, but it seemed to me that what I had left out was the story’s silent twin. There are so many things that we can’t say, because they are too painful. We hope that the things we can say will soothe the rest, or appease it in some way. Stories are compensatory. The world is unfair, unjust, unknowable, out of control. When we tell a story we exercise control, but in such a way as to leave a gap, an opening. It is a version, but never the final one. And perhaps we hope that the silences will be heard by someone else, and the story can continue, can be retold. When we write we offer the silence as much as the story. Words are the part of silence that can be spoken. Mrs Winterson would have preferred it if I had been silent. Continue reading “Book challenge #32: A book with antonyms in the title”

2015 reading challenge, Books

Book challenge #31: A book set during Christmas

Landline, Rainbow Rowell

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and he still loves her – but that almost seems besides the point now.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells him that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her – he is always a little upset with her – but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts…

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened? Continue reading “Book challenge #31: A book set during Christmas”

2015 reading challenge, Other

Guest post: Writing in the digital age

A few months ago, I was sent a review copy of Andrew Shantos’ debut novel, Dead Star Island. You can read my review here. Andrew is here today to tell us what it’s like to be an author – particularly a debut author – in the digital age.

Writing in the digital age

Displaying Digital-Age.jpgComputers, what’s not to like? I can write something, delete it, change it, save it, send it, publish it, promote it. And all without getting out of my pyjamas. But then again, it did take an awfully long time to finish my book, what with all those emails to check, viral Youtube videos to watch, inane tweets to mark as favourite.

So do I like writing in the digital age? Well I know no other age. But they do still sell pens and paper in shops. Apparently.

Here are 5 reasons I love it, and 5 reasons I don’t.

Continue reading “Guest post: Writing in the digital age”

2015 reading challenge, Books, Recommendations

Book challenge #30: A classic romance

Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day, Winifred Watson

“All these years she had never had the wicked thrill of powdering her nose. Others had experienced that joy. Never she. And all because she lacked courage.”

Back in April, Kat Brown wrote about how, when doing her tax return, she discovered that, in one year, she had bought seven copies of Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day as gifts, and “it’s got to the stage where I dole out my favourite like medicine”. So when, several months later, I was feeling particularly rotten, she suggested I read it. I dutifully went into Waterstones on an otherwise dull shopping trip, and picked up the spectacularly beautiful Persephone Books edition, and have been reading it on the train.

Continue reading “Book challenge #30: A classic romance”

2015 reading challenge, Books

Book challenge #29: A book that made you cry

9781447291527Sins of the Mother_6

Sins Of The Mother, Irene Kelly

I was sent a review copy of The Sins Of The Mother by Katy Weitz, the book’s ghostwriter. This post contains reference to child abuse, and the book contains graphic descriptions of physical, emotional and sexual abuse. Continue reading “Book challenge #29: A book that made you cry”