Reading and writing round-up (August 2015)

The summer may be coming to an end, but September and October are always great months for reading and all things books. The Wakefield Literature Festival takes place in September, followed in October by Sheffield’s Off the Shelf festival. There are so many exciting things happening that I went mad and booked everything I fancied. It’s going to be a busy few months!

Reading update

I’m not usually into crime books but I was persuaded to read The Girl on the Train. This is Paula Hawkins’ first crime novel and I really enjoyed it. I wanted a page turner, something to read in a couple of days, and that’s exactly what I got.

I’ve also finished Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, which is the first book on my Open University reading list. I’m part of the way through The Cry of the Go-Away Bird by Andrea Eames – chapter nine actually. I need to give this book a bit more time. I’ve also finished Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman, Anne Tyler’s The Beginner’s Goodbye, and Emma Healey’s Elizabeth is Missing.

Writing update

My writing has been going well. I’ve written a synopsis and ideas for my non-fiction running book, which I will be working on when I return to university later this month. I’ve also started a few short stories, and the planning for my novel is going very well indeed. As my tutor says, ‘I’m building texture.’

Speaking of my tutor, James McCreet, I read his feature in the September issue of Writing Magazine. He’s talking about structure. If you are writing a novel, or intend to write a novel, it’s definitely worth a read.

I’ve also joined forces with my friend Lucy. We are supporting each other with daily writing word counts for the month of September. We encourage and support each other, giving a daily update on the progress of our writing. We do usually stay focused but occasionally go off-track with talk of cake or ex-boyfriends, mainly cake. This week, I read a short story that Lucy had written and loved it.

Books bought

As ever the number of incoming books was significantly higher than the number of books I read. There’s just not enough time! Chris says I should have a one book in, four out policy, but that’s ridiculous. We’ll just have to extend into the loft to make room for all my books!

On Wednesday I went to buy a sandwich from my local village store, and came back with L.P. Hartley’s The Shrimp and the Anemone. I spent so long browsing the books that I almost forgot to buy lunch. It’s Chris’ birthday tomorrow so I’ve bought him some books. I can’t say what they are because he reads my blog.

For myself I bought: H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald, which I have wanted to read for absolutely ages. This book is going to the top of the to-read pile. Two unexpected purchases were How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran (I needed another book to get the buy-one-get-one-free offer and it was the closest to hand and my friend said it was funny) and Lisa Lynch’s The C-Word, which I wanted to read after seeing the BBC drama starring Sheridan Smith but hadn’t seen in any bookshops until this week.

And last but not least, my friend Kath ordered two copies of Novel Writing – a writers and artists’ companion (by mistake), so she very kindly gave one to me.

I think that’s everything.


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