Recommended Reads: Daughter of Smoke and Bone

This series was a refreshing change from “the usual” YA offering. It has its tropes, to be sure, but the package they’re wrapped up in brings them onto a different level. I read it as part of my A-Z Reading Challenge (a wildcard). Karou leads a double life – as an art student in Prague,…

Nobel Winner

Last year the literary world was a bit… perplexed at the news that song writer Bob Dylan had been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Many argued that writing songs was not the same as writing novels or even poetry, and I had a few musings of my own on the subject (see my post…

Banned Books Week

This week, the world of readers has been standing up to censorship in the form of the annual Banned Books Week. Books are challenged and banned for many reasons – for depicting violence, sex, religion, homosexuality, issues of race, criticisms of political regimes, immoral behaviour… Things that it seems fairly obvious certain sections of society…

You can’t edit a blank page

I have now written nearly 8000 words of a new book. And I’ve learned something in the process. Something about writing techniques. Whether it’s the “right thing” to have learned or not I don’t know. But its right for me. I the past I’ve spent quite a lot of time planning a story. Then, following…

500 down, only 129,999,500 to go

Its difficult to find an exact number of course, but it would appear that there is in excess of 130,000,000 unique books in existence right now. And, naturally, that number is increasing all the time. According to my records, I have read 454 books. I know this isn’t the right number – there are many…

Today I wrote

Today I wrote the first line of a story. I’m pretty proud of it. First lines don’t make or break a book, but the good ones stick in your head and of course encourage you to read on. What makes a good first line? The introduction of an impossible situation? A question that is just…

Fantasy and reality

Fantasy, sci fi, dystopian, magical realism… Any story  set in a place that is fundamentally different from the world we live in (or a version of our world in which some magical element exists) will most often have a large amount of work done on building that world before the writing of the actual story…

Recommended Reads: Never Let Me Go

“The problem, as I see it, is that you’ve been told and not told. You’ve been told, but none of you really understand, and I dare say, some people are quite happy to leave it that way.”  I included this as one of my Wildcards in my A-Z Reading Challenge. There were five letters for…

Book journal

The simplest ideas are often the best. So why has it taken me so long to start a reading journal? It couldn’t be simpler. And of course, I didn’t need a fancy journal like this one in which to write, but it is lovely. Since the beginning of the year I have been keeping a…

Daunting

DISCLAIMER: Before I begin this post, I have to say for the record that I hate the cover of this copy of Drums of Autumn. It looks like a bad Mills and Boon, and had I not known what it was I would never in a million years have picked it up in a book…

Is winter ever coming?

“And yes, before someone asks, I AM STILL WORKING ON WINDS OF WINTER and will continue working on it until it’s done. I will confess, I do wish I could clone myself, or find a way to squeeze more hours into the day, or a way to go without sleep. But this is what it…

The sense of an ending

I can’t say I’ve ever done this – skipping forward and reading the end when halfway through a book. My eyes may slide down to the bottom of the page to the end of a chapter occasionally… but I don’t make a habit of it. This article by Danuta Kean, blogger and Guardian columnist, details…