To re-read or not to re-read

“The worst thing about new books is that they keep us from re-reading the old ones.” Joseph Joubert I keep getting notifications online about the best new releases in fiction, and there are millions of them. I’ve had to stop looking – the TBR pile is already far too long. There are so many books…

Bad challenge?

You may have seen some of my posts about my reading challenge – something I do every year. Normally it’s simply a number of books I would like to have read by the end of the year, or perhaps a list of top titles I’m keen to read over the following 12 months. This year…

The Book of Dust

I’ve read the His Dark Materials trilogy three times, due to the fact they’re nothing short of brilliant. Every time I have read them, I have discovered something new, and I don’t doubt that were I to read them for a fourth time, I’d discover more still. And the time for re reading them is…

The journey of an idea

If I were to spend every waking moment for the rest of my life writing, I would probably still be left with a pile of undeveloped ideas. I called this blog A Writers Notebook because I think a notebook is one of the most important tools a writer has. Whether paper or electronic, it needs…

What if?

The end of 2016 marked the end of another year in which I failed to participate in National Novel Writing Month. I must admit I’m more of a reader than a writer these days, plus I’ve always found the concept of writing a novel in a month quite scary, even though I previously worked on a…

There is always more

“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.” Frank Herbert, author of the Dune series. The concept of the end of a story is a strange one. As Herbert says, there can never really be an ending. As writers, we just choose to stop telling a story at a…

Reading Review of the Year

This year my challenge was to read 18 books, doubling last year’s target of 9, with the aim of creeping back up to my record year of 34. (Best year on record that is, which I only started keeping in 2013). I managed to read 23 titles in 2016, plus two novellas. This total was…

Recommended Reads: The Handmaid’s Tale

“Better never means better for everyone. It always means worse, for some.” What is there to say about this book that hasn’t already been said? A modern classic written over 30 years ago, that is still as relevant and gripping now as it was then, perhaps even more so. Perhaps its because I’ve finally read…

Recommended Reads:The Butterfly Garden

“I think trauma doesn’t stop just because you’ve been rescued.” Normally I wouldn’t really be drawn to a book like this. I also wouldn’t normally respond to an email offering the latest Kindle releases for 99p, mainly because of the backlog of ebooks that I have purchased under similar offers and never read. But the…

Recommended Reads: Outlander

A friend of mine had talked about the Outlander series, and told me to read it. But I thought it wasn’t for me – I don’t do romance novels, and I was put off by the fact that there were 7 (now 8, maybe more) books in the series. Those things still stand, and I’m…

Recommended Reads: Jurassic Park

This was a Book Club book, and I’m glad it was picked, because like a lot of people I thought I knew the story of Jurassic Park – I saw the film at the cinema when it was first released back in 1993, and have seen it countless times since. It’s nothing short of brilliant,…

A place to create

A couple of years ago, before having a baby and moving house, I had a specific place where I would write. It was a lovely desk in my own little office, with a bookcase that contained my favourite novels as well as my many, many notebooks. And it was a lovely place to write. Weirdly,…