I’ve made a big effort to read more books as I try to improve my writing. I have a stockpile of books built up now, mostly because I’ve been attending a lot of launches but also because I have a bit of an addiction. I LOVE buying books, but if I’m honest, they sit there for far too long before I get round to reading them. I still prefer the old fashioned book to the Kindle, but I do enjoy being able to download something quickly when I hear about it. Instant access.
Because I run the How I Write series, I also make an effort to read the authors I’m featuring, but I can never catch up, so I’m going to make my way through them over the next few months. I also like to support authors as much as I can. Here’s what I’ve read in the past three months.
Sarah Thornhill by Kate Grenville
I adored this book – one of my favourites I’ve read in a long time. Kate weaves a first person story of Sarah, daughter of William Thornhill, one of the first settlers in Australia. You are transported back to a time unimaginable to us now, to the attitudes, the hardship, the setting up of a community and country against the backdrop of tensions with the native aboriginal community. This is the third part of a trilogy but I haven’t read the previous two books and loved it this. Five stars!
On Writing by Stephen King
I’ve heard about this book for a few years now. It’s the bible for anyone hoping to write in a serious way. It cost me €17 which I blinked at, but shouldn’t have; I’ve no doubt what I learned from reading it will make me millions in the future! It’s written in a very accessible informal and funny memoir style. Stephen teaches as he tells, like a masterclass in creative writing. He talks about the imporance of writing every day, reading, and editing. No superflous words please. A book to be re-read for me, time and again.
Paid for, My Journey Through Prostitution by Rachel Moran
I was in university with Rachel but didn’t realise she had written and released a book until fairly recently. In my novel my character spends time working as a prostitute so reading this was part research, part curiosity. The book is superbly written, and reads more like an academic work as to the damage and destruction prostitution has on women and on our society. Driven by disadvantage, Rachel describes in detail how prostitutes are made to feel ‘other’ outside of normal society and therefore find it impossible to get back to any sort of normal work or life balance. Thought provoking and at times harrowing, it absolutely changed my own attitude and concepts of women working in the industry, even down to the language we use around it.
The Bowes Inheritance by Pam Lecky
I’ve gotten to know Pam through some of the online writing groups I’m part of and also featured an interview with her on How I Write. We write in the same genre so I was looking forward to reading her book. The story begins in Ireland and quickly moves to Britain where the main character and her sister inherit a picturesque farm. There’s an interesting relationship with a neighbouring landlord who at first appears horribly nasty but eventually becomes the love interest. My style of writing is possibly more contemporary, so for me, it was interesting to read a work written in a traditional historical fiction style. The book was nominated in for an Historical Novel Society Indie Award in 2015.
Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard
I’ve been very lucky lately and been winning a few prizes, one of which was an uncorrected bound proof copy of Distress Signals. I rarely read crime, but I was very taken with this. Catherine has a distinct writing style, and almost every chapter ended on a cliffhanger, making it a real page turner. The story follows Adam who finds out his girlfriend Sarah has gone missing from a cruise ship, a cruise he didn’t even know she was taking. There’s plenty of plot and you really are left wondering until the end what has happened to Sarah. A very enjoyable read, one likely to be found on sun loungers all over Europe this summer. Catherine’s lined up for a How I Write interview in May.
I’ve recently been sent a number of books for review so will be making my way through them. My only reading time is the fifteen minutes or so that I can stay awake at bedtime, so I’m trying to build more reading into my life. Bring back those teenage days of nothing else to do but read! What have you been reading recently? Have you read any of the above?