After a shaky start to my writing day, I was ready for a break this afternoon. Where better than the library for a chance to indulge myself in fantasies that one day, my novel might find a home on those shelves.
What writer does not love a library? Upon every shelf is another idea for your next novel. Need to do some research – forget Wikipedia, get thyself to the library my friend. And it’s all free. Free, I say. With book prices here in New Zealand through the roof, it makes more than sense to avail yourself of this most lovely of all public services.
Before I talk you through my haul, I should just mention my word count. For those of you who are following my Month of Pantsting challenge with bated breath.
Today’s Word Count: 3200
Total Word count since the challenge began: 14 750
Which is, you know, not too bad for five days work. I have noticed that I am taking a slowly, slowly approach. Tackling it Pomodoro style, I suppose. You know, the Pomodoro method where you set a timer for 25 minutes and then write solidly for that time with a five minute break at the end? Only I don’t have a timer, I have my stomach which is kind enough to rumble loudly at about the right interval level!
Any way, my writing was done, the rain had put a mocker on my beach walk plan, so library it was.
As you can see from the above photo, I always like to issue far more novels than is humanly possible to read in the time given.
The Novel Choices:
- This is Life by Dan Rhodes: I was attracted by the cover because I am a sucker for whimsical little watercolours of cityscapes. Not a book I had heard of but the blurb promises a rip-rollicking tale set in Paris with a rather charming sounding cast of characters. Could be fun.
- The Light Behind the Window by Lucinda Riley. This is the first of the two novels by Riley that I picked up today. I adore novels that slip between the past and the present. This is such a novel, the past being 1943 Occupied France. It is described as a ‘breathtaking and intense story of love, war, and, above all, forgiveness. Sounds good. (Note that this is called The Lavender Garden on US Amazon – go figure!)
- The Midnight Rose by Lucinda Riley. Another ‘time slip’ novel where the past weaves into the present. This one encompasses India and a remote estate in England. I just finished writing a novel set in Raj India, so this could be a nice way to revive my passion for that manuscript. Dark secrets and a family’s past – all the ingredients of a good read, I hope.
- The Collector of Lost Things by Jeremy Page. Gorgeous cover which reminded me of my novel vision board. The Year is 1845 and a young researcher is sent to the Arctic to find the remains of the Great Auk. It’s a love story and a quest ‘whose protagonists are driven by obsession, love, and ghosts. I have a passion for ghost stories so this looks like it could be very good.
- The Sealed Letter by Emma Donaghue. Haven’t read anything by her but hear lots of grand things so this is the first of two novels by her to read. This is set in Victorian times which is just about my favourite literary period. It’s about affairs and marriage culminating in a courtroom drama. The blurb reminds me of Mrs Robinson’s Disgrace by Kate Summerscale, which I read, and loved, last month.
- Frog Music by Emma Donaghue. San Francisco 1876. Smallpox, Chinatown and exotic dancing. Sounds like a fabulous mix for a novel. Inspired by true events which makes it all the more beguiling.
- The Son by Philipp Meyer. Bit of a wildcard choice. Sweeping western epic which is not normally my bag but I seem to remember reading a good review of it about a year ago so, if I have the time, why not give it a chance. It’s got over 100 reviews on Amazon and 4 stars so it must be quite good!
Research for my novel:
My novel is set on a remote Scottish Island so it made sense to get a few visual books to get the literary juices going. These three are full of sweeping photographs and will I am sure prove really useful for helping to bring a more enhanced sense of place to my writing.
Virago is hands down the best source of fairy tales in the modern canon so I was delighted to see The Virago Book of Erotic Myths and Legends by Shahrukh Husain. Soon I might talk a little about my brief foray into the murky world of erotica writing but suffice to say that I rather enjoy reading something saucy but WELL WRITTEN. This looks to deliver on both fronts.
I also picked up The Maid of the North – Feminist Folk Tales From Around the World by Ethel Johnston Phelps. A real mix of stories here and I love getting ideas and inspiration for my next novel, or the one after that. I am entertaining the idea of writing my own volume of fairy tales so this might give me some inspiration to try some short fiction once this novel is done.
Angela Carter’s Book of Fairy Tales. Picked this up but when I came home, I realise that I already have one of her fairy tale book. Absolutely in awe of everything this woman ever wrote. Love love love Carter. Nights at the Circus is my hands-down favourite book. Inspirational writing guaranteed.
Mermaids – an anthology by Steve Dobell. Illustrated collection of verse and prose. My novel is not about Mermaids per se, but I am fascinated by these creatures of myth (or are they????) The cover is beautiful and this will be a lovely little book to dip into for some mermaid love.
Two books to keep me on the straight and narrow with my writing:
- Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. It’s a writing classic. You can’t read a writing blog without coming across this one somewhere. Time I found out what she has to say.
- How not to write a novel by Sandra Newman and Howard Mittelmark. This looks like its a fun read because I confess to finding some writing books just a little bit dry and , dare I say it, boring. I will review this later on once I have read it.
So there you have it. Not a bad haul, eh? I will review some of these if I enjoy them. If not, then I won’t – it’s really that simple. And hopefully, I have inspired some of you to get yourself down to the library for a literary feast.
What are you reading at the moment? Care to share, I would love to hear.
And all of the titles that appear in red are linked to the Amazon store. Not affiliate links, just for your own reference, okay?
See you tomorrow xxx