November is traditionally the month of NaNoWriMo for many writers (good luck to all of you taking part!) but for me, this year it’s all about the short story. I’m in the second week of a five-week Short Fiction Masterclass and, around doing this, I’m spending time reading stories from those collections I own. Having gathered some of them together (not pictured are collections by Margaret Atwood or William Trevor), I realise this reading spree is going to take me on past the five, now four remaining weeks of the course!
In 2010, I added to my world of books by building Twitter Towers* and here they are in all their glory. Unsurprisingly, Twitter Towers are made up of the books that I heard about through the social networking site. I know, I know. You don’t have to look at me like that… Even with my prodigious level of book-squirreldom, I was a little taken aback at just how many books I managed to accumulate in one year!
As you’ll have noticed from the dates of this blog post and its predecessor, I’ve had an extended break from blogging. First, I was on holiday in Scotland for a fortnight and then I returned home, refreshed, reinvigorated and ready to concentrate on little else but my current WiP. So, yes, I’ve been writing and not much else over the last few weeks. Okay, okay, I may have been tweeting and reading, as well. But only a little bit, honest.
I imagine that, for those of you anxiously waiting to find out which books I took away with me on holiday, the past few weeks have been torture. Sleepless nights and anxious days rather like the time(s) when you’ve been expecting to hear from a loved one, or about a job interview, or for exam results… No? Oh, okay then. No matter. But here are the books that were fortunate enough to make it into the book bag and come away on holiday with me. The lucky winners! I’m going to be doing reviews of some of these on the blog but, in the meantime, here are the titles and authors, together with how and why they made the cut:
Not So Perfect by Nik Perring (Roastbooks Ltd) – I love reading short stories and cannot go anywhere without taking some with me. This is a brilliant collection of short stories and came in a very handy travel size.
Only Forward by Michael Marshall Smith(Voyager Classics) – An online pal kept quoting MMS in emails and chats, and recommended this book as a good introduction to the author. I promised him that I’d read it when I had some time on holiday. I am so glad I made that promise and now intend to track down MMS’ entire back catalogue. Yes, it was that good!
Peaceweaver by Judith Arnopp (YouWriteOn.com) – I was fortunate enough to listen to a reading from this book and meet the author at a Writers’ Day in west Wales. Either of those alone would have been enough to make me want to read the book. The two combined meant that I absolutely had to.
Like Bees to Honey by Caroline Smailes (The Friday Project, an Imprint of Harper Collins) – I met (twet?) Caroline on Twitter and went to the London launch of this book where we met IRL. It seemed the perfect book to take on holiday as it’s set on the island of Malta. (I know I went to Scotland but still, this felt like it would be an ideal holiday read…)
Eva Shell by Kate North (Cinnamon Press) – This is the book that I ran back into the house and grabbed (refer to previous post for my book selection process). I’ve been meaning to get to it for some time now and simply hadn’t got around to it. Kate North was the tutor of the very first writing group I went to in 2003. I’d read some of her poetry before but have wanted to read this, her debut novel, since I bought it.
The Schoolboy by Holly Howitt (Cinnamon Press) – I was asked to read this book in order to compare it to TAG (see below).
by Stephen May (Cinnamon Press) – I had to read this and wanted to read it. I was asked to review it for Square magazine(my review is in Issue 8 of the magazine which is now on sale and available here) but I also wanted to read it because I had met Stephen while on a Writer’s Retreat at Moniack Mhor in Scotland. He read the first chapter of this book at the end of that week and I knew back then that I wanted to read the finished book when it came out.
So there you have them. My rather wonderful travelling companions. Have you read any of them? If not, which books did you whisk away from the bookshelf this summer?
When it comes to packing for a holiday, I’m very much a last-minute kind of girl. Yes, one of those annoying people who is still washing and drying clothes late the night before and ironing and packing them on departure day itself. I blame this on books. Or, rather, my inability to know which and how many of them I should take.