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My first book of the year

Happy New Year!

In 2016 I didn’t read enough books, so this year I’m making it a priority. Specifically I want to read more short stories and more African literature. My first book of the year is both.

Happiness Like Water by Chinelo Okparanta.

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‘In these exquisite stories, Chinelo Okparanta introduces us to families burdened equally by the past and the future. Here, we meet a childless couple with very different desires, a college professor comforting a troubled student, a mother seeking refuge from an abusive husband, and a young woman waiting to join her lover abroad. High expectations consume them. Nigeria defines them.’

Chinelo Okparanta was born in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. She was one of Granta’s New Voices for 2012 and her writing has appeared in publications such as the New Yorker, Granta, Tin House, and The Kenyan Review. 

I’m looking forward to getting started. Review to follow.

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Saturday short story: Foster by Claire Keegan

In Claire Keegan’s Foster a girl is sent to live with foster parents on a farm in County Wicklow, rural Ireland, around the time of the IRA hunger strikes.

Foster

In her new home she finds kindness and warmth, something she’s not known in her own home. Under the care of her foster parents, the Kinsellas, she thrives, learning to read and run.

There is a constant warning that Continue reading

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The week in books (6-12 June 2016)

Now that my exams are over I’m looking forward to a summer of reading. I’ve got lots of novels, memoirs and short stories on my to read pile. Before I start blogging about these books, I wanted to update you on last week.

What a good week it was!

On Tuesday I finished my exam on the nineteenth century novel, part of my English Literature degree. I’m pleased to say it went really well. We celebrated by having a meal out and booking a holiday in the sun. Chris and I have been very busy lately, so we’re looking forward to a week’s holiday. Chris is also a keen reader, so there will be lots of reading.

The first book I picked up after my exam was Continue reading

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The week in books

The weeks are going too quickly. It’s now only two weeks until my exam. I wish time would slow down a bit, just so I can do the necessary revision.

Over the last week I have completed and passed (hurrah!) my final assignment for my literature degree, had my dad’s birthday party (more small gathering really) and taken part in a few running races. Here are a few pics from the small gathering. Olivia had spent most of the day being creative and decorating the door.

I’ve been writing and blogging here Continue reading

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Saturday short story: Meeting the Lobster

The Bridport Prize is one of the most prestigious short story competitions in the English language. Since 1973 it has aimed to encourage emerging writers and promote literary excellence.

Bridport Prize

The annual prize receives thousands of entries from the UK and overseas. The deadline for entries is always the end of May, which is why I decided to select one of the Bridport winners as my Saturday short story.

As well as Continue reading

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Saturday short story

I love short stories. I love them so much that I’ve decided to have a regular short story slot on a Saturday.

The idea is that after a busy week (it always seems to be busy) I will sit down with a brew and a biscuit and read at least one short story. Bliss!

To get things started I’ve just read a story called ‘Foes’ by Lorrie Moore, from her collection Bark.

Lorrie Moore

Writer Bake McKurty and his wife, Suzy, are Continue reading

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The week in books

Hope you’re having a good start to the week. Normally, on a Monday evening I would be out running, but seeing as though I have a race this week, I’m having a day off! In fact, we both are. I’m updating my book blog, and Chris is reading the paper. Then we are both going to spend the evening reading!

So, here’s a quick update about last week.

What I’ve been reading

I’m still in the nineteenth century. Last week my focus was on The Woman in White, Madame Bovary and Heart of Darkness.

What I’ve been writing

Essays, essays and more essays. They are taking over my life. However, I am managing to work on my book. I’ve set myself a target of 500 words a day. I’ve also been blogging here, and on my running and wedding blogs.

What I’ve been watching

I’ll admit that I’ve not quite given up TV. We’ve been enjoying Undercover, Line of Duty, and the OJ Simpson programme that’s now finished. On Saturday night we also watched a Liam Neeson film, but not the one where he has a particular set of skills, another one, where he didn’t so much want the skills he had – being an assassin! Chris has just informed me it was called Unknown. We fell asleep before the ending, but that’s not a reflection on Liam!

What I’ve been buying (book shopping)

the loney et al2

I couldn’t resist some book buying when my Mum and I went shopping. I bought The Loney, which I’ve already told you about, The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma, The Seed Collectors by Scarlett Thomas, and Louis de Bernieres The Dust that Falls from Dreams.

The Fishermen is set in a small town in Western Nigeria. I may have mentioned before that I love African literature. I seem to be drawn to it. Anyway, four young brothers use their strict father’s absence from home to go fishing at a forbidden local river. They encounter a dangerous local madman who predicts that the older brother will be killed by another. This prophecy breaks their strong bond and unleashes a tragic chain of events of almost mythic proportions. I can’t wait to get started.

I bought The Seed Collectors because I’m a fan of Scarlett Thomas’s writing. I absolutely loved The End of Mr Y.

This coming week I will be reading The Awakening. I’ve also just had an email from my Comma Press short story tutor who’s told the group to go mad this month and read as many short stories as possible. I will certainly do my best.

What are you reading this week?

Happy reading

Liz