So far, 2015 has been really good to me reading-wise. I have enjoyed loads of great books (some of which I got for Christmas or my birthday – yay!) and, better yet, I’ve become totally immersed in them (not always possible since I made books/writing my job…)
So, here are a select few recommendations. If you’ve read anything brilliant lately, please let me know in the comments… I like to keep my to-be-read pile topped up.*
1. Yes, Please by Amy Poehler.
This is just as funny, warm and honest as I was hoping it would be. It also contains these (perfect) words on writing a book:
“Everyone lies about writing. They lie about how easy it is or how hard it was. They perpetuate a romantic idea that writing is some beautiful experience that takes place in an architectural room filled with leather novels and chai tea… The truth is, writing is this: hard and boring and occasionally great but usually not. Even I have lied about writing. I have told people that writing this book has been like brushing away dirt from a fossil. What a load of shit. It’s been like hacking away at a freezer with a screwdriver.”
2. The Bees by Laline Paull was an excellent, unusual read. Writing a book from the point of view of a bee can’t have been an easy task, and I’m in awe of Paull’s imagination and linguistic dexterity.
3. Wild by Cheryl Strayed. Definitely read the book before you see the film (which, considering that it’s a worldwide bestseller, you probably already have done). Beautifully written, bare-your-soul honest, and uplifting. Warning: It made me sob, so maybe don’t read it on public transport.
4. The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley. I had never heard of this author but when my friend Stephanie Burgis recommended it I downloaded a Kindle sample and became instantly hooked. It’s a ‘time slip’ novel in which a grieving woman steps into the past while staying at a beautiful house in Cornwall. Romance! Smugglers! It’s also got a cracking plot and lots of heart; happy sigh. It definitely won’t be the last Susanna Kearsley I read…
5. And, still in progress… Story by Robert McKee. Although this seminal work on the craft of story-telling is aimed at screenwriters, it’s been recommended to me again and again by other novelists. I’m (finally) giving it a go and, so far, it’s very interesting. I bought the audiobook and am listening to it during my daily walk which is both good (multi-tasking) and bad (I can’t take notes).
*By ‘topped up’ I mean ‘ridiculously tall and impossibly large’.