Books I am Enjoying Right Now

This morning I wanted to share with you a couple of books that I have just started to read but am already totally fascinated by. I always have a few books on the go but have a habit of starting new ones before I finish the old ones. Anyway, it is fair to say that these two looked so new and shiny and I just couldn’t help myself. (The picture I chose for this blog post is from a seaside trip but it reminds me of reading by the sea, my favourite place to flick through a book).

What books are sitting on your shelf, waiting to be opened? Aren’t you tempted to make a head start?

State of the Union

A clever, witty read so far…

Actually, this is the first time that I have read a Nick Hornsby book and it came about because I noticed a TV series of the same name on BBC iPlayer. Having watched a short episode I wanted to read the book before I saw any more. Being a short book, with ten chapters, each chapter fits neatly with one episode so I have taken to reading one then watching one. It’s kind of fun.

A husband and wife nip to the pub for a brief chat each week just before their marriage counselling session. They comment on the previous couple to leave the therapist’s house and engage in witty conversations which not only unpick their marriage but also put the world to rights.

Before the Coffee gets Cold

Have a coffee. Go back in time.

I love how this books starts. The writing style of Toshikazu Kawaguchi is fairly unique and unlike previous books I have looked at. The idea of a coffee shop that can take you back in time, but with several provisos, is great!

So far I am still getting to know the characters and setting but it is definitely maintaining my interest. The coffee shop is well described and seems endearing but I have a feeling there are many adventures to come. The rules for time travel include not changing the future in any way. This is likely to be a recipe for disaster, I think.

I have linked another post about my recent reads: here

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Do You Read Widely?

I was reflecting upon my own reading list this morning and was thinking about just how narrow some of my reading could often be. I tend to go through the back lists of my favourite authors and therefore stick to the types of books that I am used to and generally give me pleasure.

A bookshelf that is diverse is always fascinating to discover.

But then I thought about some of the very different books that I have read this year. Some non-fiction, fantasy and even romantic ones that don’t normally crop up in my reading have satisfied me as much as any contemporary family drama.

Just for fun I have come up with some questions to enable us all to reflect upon our reading habits. I will put my own answers under every question and I encourage you to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

1) When was the last time you tried a book by a new author (an author whose books you had never read before)?

Today. I had a book sample in my Apple Books and decided to try it and then persuaded myself to buy the full ebook. It is called ‘The Dragon of Ynes’ and was recently recommended in another blog review that I read. It has LGBT aspects to its storyline and already I am loving it.

2) Have you read any non-fiction books this year?

Having just bought Matt Haig’s ‘The Comfort Book’ I am definitely going to soon. I also read a couple of biographies by Julie Andrews and Mindy Kaling, amongst others.

3) Have you read outside of your comfort zone lately?

‘The Order of the Day’ was a historical short book and definitely new territory for me as a reader. Written about the German invasion of Austria and various events that led to the Second World War, it was interesting but also scary. Scary in the sense that it illustrated just how easily people were fooled by Hitler in the early days.

4) When did you last try an Indie writer’s book?

Being an indie author myself, I try hard to often buy and read books by fellow indie writers. A couple of months ago I read ‘Crossings’ by Elizabeth Thomas which was a compelling collection of short stories. I also read the marvellous, ‘The Vintage Bookshop of Memories’ by Elizabeth Holland.

5) Do you read books written by authors from other countries?

This one is easy for me as I love so many American and Australian authors. My go-to Australian writing legend is Liane Moriarty and I am regularly pleased by the works of such writers as Celeste Ng, Becky Albertalli, John Green and David Levithan.

You will notice that I included a picture of Jane Austin books as recently I overheard someone talking about having read them all. I hope that I have become more of a varied reader than I used to be, but I will always read novels by my favourites, such as Matt Haig, Joanne Harris and Liane Moriarty. Click here for a post about some of their books that I enjoyed recently.

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Writing My First Book

Reflecting on my own writing journey so far, I came to realise that it was two years ago that I satisfyingly pieced together the final fragments of my debut book, ‘The Fathers, The Sons and The Anxious Ghost’. This book is something I am very proud of because the storyline means so much to me. Having had friends and family suffering from mental health issues, the narrative was my own way of unpicking some of those elements.

In this blog post I want to reflect upon that story and how I created it. When I think about how it all started, it was actually fairly random. Hopefully by sharing my writing experience, you may find some of it relatable. New writers can understand just how complicated everything to do with publishing seems at first but after a while it all starts to make some kind of sense.

How did it all start?

I remember watching lots of drama series where mental health issues were touched upon and noticing that, at the time, a lot of these didn’t focus on men quite so much. This gave me the idea to make my story about three guys. It was just one of many ideas but I quickly sat down and wrote a short chapter introducing a dad and his son rushing to get to school. I wanted to show stress straight away so I ensured that he was late and that his fraught relationship with his wife was immediately apparent.

There were only two things in my mind at that point. I wanted a story about three guys whose kids all went to the same school and I wanted them to be rattled by something. So, I came up with the idea that one of their spouses would commit suicide. From then on, I knew that I had a story that would grow longer than one of my short stories.

In a nutshell

My story is told in three parts with each person writing a chapter. For me, this was a no brainer as I needed the characters to have their own unique voices and first person narrative was the only way to do this.

During a school play, three kids get into a scuffle, leading their dads to come into the same orbit. Soon after, a tragic suicide resonates through the town. One dad loses a wife while the others also feel the weight of the situation as repercussions eventually play out.

Each guy has a different situation at home. One is fed up with his marriage, another has realised that he prefers men and the third is left to parent alone after his sudden loss. But that is not the crux of the story.

Ten years later, the now 18 year old kids tell their part of the story and unpick the ramifications of not only the suicide, but also the destruction of their parents’ marriages. One daughter in particular cannot stop delving into her mother’s past and is determined that another parent caused her mum’s death.

The third part is a short chapter and is meant to draw things together, helping you to understand some of the chaos and hopefully leaving you with interesting questions.

What does the story mean?

It means everything to me. I have witnessed attempted suicide and loss amongst family and friends and have seen how destructive mental health can be. It was important that I got to explore this within a family drama as such events can have long term affects on those around the people who are suffering.

The story also explores an LGBT relationship, the power of long lasting and meaningful friendship, and how communities come together after a tragic event.

Thank you for reading about my first foray into writing a book. If you enjoyed this and like bookish content then please consider following my blog.