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Becoming a Writer
it was amazing
On 13 September, I posted a piece on the difficulties that often beset writers on my blog. In that post I mentioned Dorothea Brande’s excellent book, ...more
not set
Nov 09, 2011
Miss Julie
it was ok
The modern mind rebels instantly against the extreme misogyny expressed in the preface to this play. Strindberg may be typical of his time (the play w ...more
Feb 2014
Oct 22, 2011
They F*** You Up: How To Survive Family Life
it was amazing
Using as examples of various personality traits and problems, Oliver James cites the lives of Prince Charles, Woody Allen, Mia Farrow, Paula Yates, se ...more
Oct 19, 2010
Sep 10, 2010
In Search of Identity
really liked it
I rarely read autobiographies; they tend to be showcases for the subject, with little concern for the truth. However, this one is different. Partly be ...more
Jun 30, 2013
Oct 22, 2011
Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow
it was amazing
What a tremendous book this is. Subtitled, ‘A Brief History of Tomorrow’, this follow-up to ‘Sapiens’ confirms the author’s mastery of deep research c ...more
Apr 13, 2017
Mar 25, 2017
Wake Up and Live!
it was amazing
I came to this remarkable piece of work via an offer from another author who’d ‘rewritten’ it. When I saw the original was by Dorothea Brande, I looke ...more
Feb 14, 2014
Feb 09, 2014
The Last Frontier
liked it
What can you say about Alistair MacLean? He's a great storyteller, but not such a good writer? Does that chime with you? I enjoy his books but sometim ...more
Feb 18, 2014
Mar 25, 2012
Under Milk Wood
it was amazing
Many years ago, I bought the vinyl LP of the BBC radio production of Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood. It’s subtitled, ‘A Play for Voices’, and that’s ab ...more
Sep 19, 2013
Sep 16, 2013
The Little Blue Book for Authors: 53 Dos & Don’ts Nobody Is Telling You
it was amazing
Subtitled ‘53 Dos & Don’ts Nobody is Telling You’, this short book, in common with all the author’s work, is direct and to the point. You’ll find ...more
Dec 17, 2017
Oct 30, 2017
Sing the Midnight Stars (Rift, #1)
really liked it
This fantasy is full of imagination and introduced me to a thread of magic I hadn’t come across before. Whether that type of magic is entirely the inv ...more
Jan 31, 2014
Jan 19, 2014
The Writer's Lexicon: Descriptions, Overused Words, and Taboos
it was amazing
Are you a lover of words? Do you write? Is language use an issue of interest? If so, you’ll find Kathy Steinemann’s ‘The Writer’s Lexicon’ a veritable ...more
Mar 23, 2017
Mar 22, 2017
Write. Publish. Repeat. (The No-Luck-Required Guide to Self-Publishing Success)
it was amazing
I downloaded this book as part of a package of 3, offered for a very silly price, by which I mean, cheap, very cheap!

It’s the best few pence I’ve ever
Dec 03, 2014
Nov 25, 2014
Let's Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, And Why You Should (Let's Get Digital, #1)
really liked it
A book I bought as part of a package for indie authors. I’m glad I did. So far, and this is the second in the pack of three, it has been a thoroughly ...more
Dec 11, 2014
Nov 25, 2014
Story in Literary Fiction: A Manual for Writers
really liked it
Subtitled ‘A Manual for Writers’, this is a scholarly work that attempts to analyse what makes a story ‘literary’ rather than ‘genre’ and advises on h ...more
Aug 08, 2017
Aug 05, 2017
The Call of the Wild
really liked it
I come late to this classic, which I gather is intended as a children’s story. Mind you, I suspect a few of the modern generation might have difficult ...more
May 05, 2013
May 01, 2013
Mind Tryst
really liked it
Compelling: it must be, because I read Robyn Carr’s ‘Mind Tryst’ under rather trying circumstances. In a nutshell, I was doing a read-aloud edit of th ...more
Jun 02, 2014
Jan 01, 2012
The Handmaid's Tale
it was amazing
An astounding piece of work.
Because this book is a modern classic, it has been much reviewed, discussed and dissected, which probably renders my revie
Feb 14, 2017
not set
Aug 27, 2010
The Last Word: Tales from the Tip of the Mother Tongue
it was amazing
The Last Word, subtitled ‘Tales from the Tip of the Mother Tongue’, is a collection from the writings of Ben MacIntyre, a columnist writing about book ...more
Apr 26, 2013
Oct 27, 2011
The God of Small Things
it was amazing
A prose poem of a novel, with bite. This Indian tale of love, loss, class and betrayal starts, against all the literary school advice, with the weathe ...more
Jan 18, 2014
Oct 22, 2011
really liked it
First published in 1994, Disclosure by Michael Crichton, is one of those novels based on actual events, though this is not made clear until the end of ...more
May 25, 2013
Dec 28, 2011
The Light Keepers (ShadowLight Saga, #0.5)
really liked it
Described as a prequel to ‘ShadowLight’, this short introduction to a fantasy world came to me as a free download for my iPad via Kindle. A prequel is ...more
Aug 16, 2013
Aug 02, 2013
The Witch's Cradle
it was amazing
Some novels are not created to be enjoyed but to inspire, educate, shock, grip or horrify. Gillian White manages to do all these things in The Witch’s ...more
Feb 20, 2013
Nov 24, 2011
The Black Angel (Charlie Parker, #5)
it was ok
I suspect that this is a very good book of its type, but I’ll never know. Sometimes, as a reader, I pick up a book and begin to read and know, very qu ...more
Aug 19, 2012
Dec 14, 2011
Secrets and Lies in El Salvador
it was amazing
This novel reads like a personal account; it is presented in a way that takes the reader straight into the life of the protagonist as she finds hersel ...more
Apr 22, 2015
Apr 13, 2015
The Royal Hunt Of The Sun
it was amazing
This play was first performed at the National Theatre in Chichester on 7th June 1964, when I was a young man of 16. I've never seen a performance, but ...more
Jan 16, 2013
Dec 31, 2011
The Strange Life of Brandon Chambers
liked it
The Strange Life; it says a lot about the book, this title. Intriguing? Yes. Compelling? Yes. You can sense the ‘but’, I suspect. This is a strange bo ...more
Feb 04, 2017
Jan 22, 2017
The Doll Makers
it was amazing
I met the wonderfully idiosyncratic heroine, Annie Raymond, in Penny’s first detective novel, Like False Money, and enjoyed her doubts, courage and in ...more
Oct 12, 2010
Oct 11, 2010
All's Well That Ends Well
liked it
How do you go about reviewing a work that must have been described, analysed and generally pulled apart by thousands of readers, writers, scholars and ...more
Feb 17, 2012
Jan 01, 2012
Naked Good Reads: How to find Readers
it was amazing
Subtitled ‘How to Find Readers’, this is another of Hausmann’s writing books crammed with common sense and down-to-earth advice.
First, I must pose a q
Nov 27, 2017
Oct 15, 2017
Life of Pi
really liked it
A fantasy novel written in the style of a documentary narrative: that does the book a great injustice. Although the germ came from an earlier work abo ...more
Feb 06, 2013
Jan 31, 2013
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