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Wednesday, 6 February 2013

A Year of Books

My new book - coming soon!!

What sort of books to you like reading? That's a question I often get asked by school children when I'm doing an author visit. Usually I find myself waffling on a bit because I like all kinds of books – children's and adults and often have a few books on the go, so I can always find something to read that suits my mood. Currently I'm reading 61 Hours by Lee Child - a Jack Reacher novel and Lynda La Plante's Bloodline. Very different in style but both gripping in their own way. 

I've also been reading the proofs for my latest children's book, The Trunk, which is being published by Penguin Australia in their Eerie Series under the pseudonym of S.Carey. This was great fun to write and it's exciting to know it will be out soon. A few friends and relatives have asked me 'what's in the trunk?' But I'm not saying. Only my 14 year old grandson, Jake (and Penguin editors) know. I tried the story out on Jake to gauge his reaction, which was. 'Nan! Your mind! I can't stop thinking about it!'
'Good, good', I say rubbing my hands together with glee.

So, looking back over the last 12 months, I thought I'd pick out a dozen or so books that I've read and which have left a lasting impression.

Other recently read books have included Claimed by Vicky Lewis Thompson, a Mills & Boon romance – I've been trying to write a Mills & Boon for years. It was my original ambition when I first got the writing bug. I've had some success with two romances, published by DC Thompson and which are coming out in hard back and large print via other publishers, but the ever illusive M&B still eludes me. 

Everybody Jam by Ali Lewis is another book I've enjoyed over the past year. A friend leant me this book because I needed to get the feel of the Australian outback for The Trunk which is set in a vaguely similar location. So while I'd intended reading it just as research regarding the accents and backdrop I was soon captivated by the story. 

Firstborn, Karen King's delightful dragon book was a really enjoyable read, and was one of the first ebooks I downloaded onto my new kindle at the beginning of 2012. 

Another great children's book which I absolutely loved was Katherine Langrish's Dark Angels, and what was so exciting was that I'd read the book without realising it had been written by Katherine - a fellow member of the Scattered Authors Society. I hadn't looked at the author's name until after I'd finished reading it – doh! It was such a lovely surprise!

Indie book The Survival of Thomas Ford by John A A Logan was another great read. John is a member of Authors Electric which I also belong to, and this was just one of the fantastic reads I've downloaded in e-form over the year.

I bought Pincher Martin by William Golding in a second hand book shop. It was first published in 1958 and is one of those books that sticks in your mind. The beginning absolutely captivated me, the middle almost drove me mad with frustration at the repetition and difficulties the protagonist endured and twice I put it down deciding I couldn't read on. But read on I did and was blown away by he ending – so much so, I will be reading this book again.

I do like Stephen King books and during 2012 I've enjoyed two blockbuster novels of his. Under The Dome being one, and as soon as I'd finished that I started on 11.22.63. Desperate to get through them, but not really wanting them to end, it resulted in reading long into the early hours of the morning instead of sleeping.

Girl in a Blue Dress by Gaynor Arnold. I went to a quirky book 'speed dating' event at my local library, which wasn't dating, but had that same format where instead of telling people about yourself, you chatted for two minutes about your favourite book. One of the ladies couldn't speak highly enough about Girl in a Blue Dress, so I just had to bring it home with me. And it was indeed a great read based around Charles Dickens.

At the same event I heard about Fatherland by Robert Harris, which is all about the German SAS but it's fiction and its setting is Germany after they won the war. Incredibly thought provoking book that I would highly recommend.

And now Hilary Mantel. Her book Beyond Black was the first book of hers I had read – and loved this beautifully written story of troubled psychic Alison. I then read Giving up the Ghost – a memoir, again a fascinating insight into her life. I'd thought mistakenly that I would love anything that she wrote, but discovered this not to be so. The Giant O'Brien is about a poverty stricken Irish giant who goes to London to earn a living by appearing as a freak and I found this story too depressing in its atmosphere and the story itself. I tried the multi award winning Wolf Hall which I found too confusing to continue reading after getting halfway. That said I'll probably love her next book.

So, a year of varied reading. How about you, have you read any good books lately?

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