While Not Writing …

I thought I’d share some of the novels I’ve enjoyed reading recently. A couple were written by very talented local authors, but really there’s no theme or reason to this selection (I generally like to read randomly), aside from the fact that these five are especially great and they happened to be part of what I’ve been up to while Not Writing.

Before The Earthquake by Maria Allen
Breathtakingly evocative and hugely enjoyable, ‘Before the Earthquake’ takes place in rural Italy at the turn of the century and follows 15 year old Concetta’s search for lost memories – her emotional journey is as finely wrought as the book’s unique setting. A stunning debut.

Attention Deficit by Nigel Pickard
By turns, funny, heart-wrenching and hard-hitting. A tale of life and education told in parallel through the compelling and distinctive voices of incorrigible teacher, Harry, and disruptive pupil, Lewis, as they each stumble towards crisis. I was swept along. A completely cracking read.

After You’d Gone by Maggie O’Farrell
This novel was recommended to me during a discussion about writing flashbacks. Somehow I’d never read O’Farrell before and I’m very pleased I finally have. This story expertly weaves together different threads and her work generally seems to be all about secrets (which is perhaps my very favourite subject too). I’ll definitely be catching up with more.

Little Bird of Heaven by Joyce Carol Oates
I love Joyce Carol Oates. I love her unstoppable energy and her courage. I love her true and twisted vision of how we are and how we might be, and the strange, dark, rhythmic poetry of her prose. Basically, I just love her.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
What can I say this book that hasn’t already been said? Quite frankly, nothing. Except that for me, it’s perhaps even better second time round (I first read it 20 years ago – 20!!! How did that even happen?)

I’ve also been reading (and chatting about) my own novel too. This month, ‘The Dawning’ was featured at a lovely evening reading event at the gorgeous and truly pioneering independent bookshop, The Bookcase, in Lowdham and also at the Independent Press Fair at De Montfort University. (Thank you The Bookcase for lovely wine and nibbles and lovely people. Thank you States of Independence for such an incredibly inspiring day).

P.S. You may be relieved, or completely un-bothered, to hear that I’ve now allowed myself to start (re)writing again. It’s driving me crazy. I’m loving it. Thus the usual insane balance of my universe has been restored.