Read, Watch, Listen 2

A few weeks ago I decided to review a book, a TV show and a podcast in the same blog post and was happy with the outcome. So this week I have once again put together my three current sources of entertainment.

Each of these is worth checking out. I am half way through the book and the TV series. With the podcast, I am catching up on episodes and currently listening to all of the new episodes as they are published.

What I am reading

Currently I am making my way through ‘Different Class’ by Joanne Harris. It follows on from the brilliant ‘Gentlemen and Players’ which really got me rooted in these school- based dramas.

I really love this story as it builds so cleverly, with alternating chapters by two key characters. Joanne’s writing is always so brilliant and the way she creates a backstory for the latin teacher and new super head is nothing short of superb.

Let’s say the new headteacher is younger and used to be in Roy Straightly’s class. As we flick back and forth, we discover events that suggest that there is so much more to be said. Full of intrigue and skilful mastery of words, this book is totally immersive.

What I am watching

Last week I noticed that Imogen Poots was in a new sci-fi series on Amazon Prime Video. ‘Outer Range’ seemed really intriguing as it is set on a ranch in the USA and costars Josh Brolin as the cowboy patriarch (Royal) who I recall from the Kate Winslet movie, Labour Day.

A black hole has been discovered on landowner Royal’s land. A violent event leads to an investigation which is muddled by a battle for one section of land that seems to hold more value than it suggests. Meanwhile Autumn (Poots) wanted to camp in his field whilst poking her nose into local goings on.

The black hole seems to be a place to deposit bodies but can we be sure they won’t come back? When one does reappear it causes a whole load of contraversy.

What I am listening to

When I was growing up, I loved watching the hilarious ‘Big Breakfast’ programme every morning on Channel 4. Presented by Chris Evans and Gaby Roslin, it was a magazine show with great guests, funny sketches and crazy alien puppets called Zig and Zag.

Ever since, I have remained a firm fan of Gaby Roslin and so I was pleased to see her begin a podcast where she chats with famous people from all sorts of backgrounds. Starting with her friendly and fun Kate Winslet episode, I have started working my way through her previous series.

I seem to remember Gaby interviewing Kate in 1995 when she was promoting Sense and Sensibility. Gaby mentions this in the episode and The fact that Kate came on this podcast (after all her interviews are rare) shows her high regard for Roslin as a broadcaster. The banter between them is funny and honest.

Other highlights include a chat with Judi Dench, Alicia Silverstone and Jill Halfpenny. I also found Sebastian Croft from Heartstopper really interesting. There are so many cool people on it and I am yet to check out Jim Broadbent and many others.

Thank you for taking the time to read my current suggestions. If you want to check out my previous recommendations please click here. Hopefully you enjoyed this article and may consider following my blog for more of the same.

Which YA authors do bloggers prefer?

It is no secret that I have recently grown to love YA fiction books and so I started to wonder what sort of YA books other bloggers were reading. The YA genre came to light for me when I watched a few Netflix series which stemmed from YA stories. Now I am absolutely hooked on YA and can’t get enough of it. In fact, I even decided to write my latest novel in this brilliant genre.

My shelves are fast filling up with YA novels. These are not my shelves but you get the idea.

Putting my feelers out, I asked fellow bloggers for their thoughts on Young Adult books. I have discovered that these books certainly do not just appeal to teenagers and have a wide audience. In my opinion, this is due to their ability to relate to modern life, their clever use of dialogue and their quick pace.

The following are quotes by some of my favorite bloggers about YA authors that they adore:

Smelly Socks and Garden Peas was excited about Rick Riordan’s writing. She says…

“Rick Riordan’s books seem to appeal to a really broad age range, they stretch the literacy of 8 yr olds but satisfy the fantasies of teenagers. They also open the world of mythology (Greek, Roman, Norse, Egyptian) to younger minds who would doubtless find Sophocles rather dry. My 10 yr old knows more about those ancient gods than I ever have, and loves learning more.”

The Grumpy Olive sisters were keen to recommend Maggie Stiefvater, a writer I had never heard of but am now wanting to know more about. They say…

“One of my favourite YA authors must be Maggie Stiefvater. She has the ability to transport you from a world of werewolves to dreamers and ancient kings that feel so real and tangible.

I love how she takes time for details and describing, mostly locations, without getting too boring or lengthy on pages. And without omitting great and interesting character building.”

NotSoModernGirl is a wonderful all-round blogger and she enjoys the works of Amy Ewing. Eleanor says…

“My favourite YA author is Amy Ewing. I don’t normally read book series, but when I read her first book (‘The Jewel’) I couldn’t wait to read more. I really recommend checking out her books for a bit of dystopian fiction with a modern twist. I also got the chance to interview her for my blog a few years ago, which was amazing!”

Headphones and Thoughts Blog was also keen on Rick Riordan but has a place in her heart for a more traditional text which impacted her greatly.

“When I was in high school, I was required to read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I loved the book so much that I ended up reading all her novels. I own all of them. Pride and Prejudice is my favorite out of all her novels. Jane Austen is truly an amazing writer.”

Karalee at Tales of Belle wanted to share enthusiasm for another YA author that I have yet to check out. Ransom Riggs definitely sounds intriguing…

“My favorite young adult author is Ransom Riggs. He wrote the Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series, which has 6 books in the series as well as a collection of short stories. I absolutely love the series because it follows a group of children who have peculiar abilities and their fight against Wights who want to consume their souls, and there is also the added element of time loops and Riggs includes vintage found photographs in his books too.”

I was thrilled to read about these different YA authors and would like to thank these brilliant bloggers for collaborating with me in this article. I have definitely been persuaded to check out these recommendations.

My personal favourite YA author is Becky Albertalli although there are several others that I am becoming fond of. For a previous post I wrote about Becky, check out my Leah On The Offbeat review. For similar future posts, please consider following my blog.

A Satisfying Short Book

Those eyes drew me in.

One book that I finished a while ago, which really sticks in my memory, is about a Japanese guy who was visited by a charming cat. I know what you are thinking – ‘What?!’

This sweet little book attracted me as it sat on a Waterstones book shelf and I don’t know why, but for some reason the picture of the feline on the front got me intrigued enough to buy it. Being a Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller also made it very tempting indeed.

The Guest Cat

A writer who had rented a room in a wealthy Japanese family’s garden apartment, pieced together a series of events in the lives of him and his wife where they both came into contact with a beautiful and very friendly cat.

Originally written as a series of essays, Takashi Hiraide fused them together into a small novella consisting of short chapters. The narrative is wonderfully written in a unique style that I have never witnessed before.

Over time, the guest cat became a lucky emblem for them. Chibi, the cat, was a regular visitor, consuming the food they left for him and entertaining them warmly. While this is a very sweet book, do not expect a thrilling mystery or complex drama. There is something soothing about the normality of it all.

Chibi somehow inspired both the man and his wife and became a massive part of their lives. A sad turn of events later put that relationship into question.

This is the first time I have read a book based in Japan and written in translation. It was brilliantly framed and totally absorbing. I can honestly say that I have never read anything quite so exquisitely unique.

Thank you for taking the time to read my brief book review. Here is another recent review of Exciting Times. Please consider following my blog for similar content about books and the environment.