We are officially in the ‘Bers!
This is it. This is the time of year where all planets align and give me a much needed boon.
Roll on the glorious autumn months!
I’ve read 4 books in August which for me is great. On a good month I can average one book per week so 4 is on track for me. On a great month I can squeeze in a few more if I read a novella or two.
Let’s not talk about the not-so-good months 😉
I’d not read any Robin McKinley books before Beauty but I had heard of her and knew that she was a renowned writer of fairy-tale retellings.
I can’t say I was a massive fan of this version. She has some lovely writing but it took a long time for the story to start and sadly, I struggled to connect with it. This is not a lengthy tome by any stretch but it took me over two weeks to read when it should have taken a couple of days.
The book market is flooded with Beauty and the Beast retellings (it’s one of the most popular tales) and back in the 1970’s when this was written, this would have been unique. Now, because there are so many, this reads as a tad boring.
To be fair to Beauty – it’s an incredibly faithful adaptation of the original (which surprisingly is not all that exciting itself). BatB is a lovely fairy-tale but it’s big on conversation and not on action. Points go to this version though for sticking with the ‘correct’ portrayal of the Beast.
I will read more Robin McKinley though, as I said – lovely writing.
I’d seen Story Genius recommended on someone’s blog so when I purchased a small stack of writing reference books I decided to get into this one first.
I believe that you can get something out of every book on writing.
This one didn’t tell me anything that I haven’t already seen mentioned before but the main takeaway is:-
Know your character because when you understand ‘why’ they do what they do, you’ll be able to plan their responses to plot points and therefore have an easier time of plotting.
The unfortunate thing was that this seemed to be the only point that the author had to make. Instead of having that point as a 2 page newsletter it became a 200 page book. Yeah, it got boring fast.
I think the ‘turning off’ point for me was near the beginning where the author was overly critical (i.e. bashed) of other ways of constructing a novel and really dug it in to the pantsers of the world.
It immediately got my hackles up (and I’m a huge plotter) as I don’t go for the ‘my way is the way’ approach to writing. Sorry. Not for me.
Considering as I’m all ‘oh I don’t do re-reads’ this is the second one in two months!
I first read The Book of Lost Things over ten years ago and held such affectionate memories for it as I remembered loving it hard on first read.
I decided to buy a copy for keepsies and hoped my adoration remained.
Over the years, I’ve read a ton of original fairy-tales or fairy-tale retellings so there’s a lot more comparatives entering my head.
I still loved the originality of the fairy-tale retellings that were included here but with time and distance the shine has come off the apple.
With an older, more critical eye I can now see sections of the story that I would have trimmed as they didn’t serve the story any purpose other than exposition. It was almost as though the writer wanted to have a collection of original fairy-tale shorts but needed to have a main story to tie them to and I wish he stuck to his deliciously dark and twisted fairy-tales rather than force a narrative around them.
I still enjoyed this though, but I think it’s now more a crush then true love.
Now this is true love.
I have read so many positive reviews about On Writing over the years and it was a book I always wanted to read.
I have read Stephen King’s works (but not a lot of them and not the really famous ones) and thought I wouldn’t benefit or enjoy On Writing unless I had or unless I was a die-hard fan of the man himself.
It’s hard to pick a main takeaway because this whole book, from start to end, is filled with practical advice and, more importantly, an overwhelming love of the craft of writing.
Seriously, this man oozes writing from his pores and after reading I can’t explain how invigorated I felt about writing and words.
This is part memoir but that’s because being a writer is so quintessentially who Stephen King is that his life and writing (in terms of inspiration, how life impacted his writing, how writing impacted his life) can’t be disentangled..
He writes in an informal, conversationalist style which made me feel like I was having a chat with a friend about a hobby we both enjoyed. Not that there aren’t some heart-wrenching moments. Stephen King has a gift for writing an event in a straight forward way and then, out of nowhere, includes a line which successfully punches you in the throat.
This was such a joy to read and I’m beyond glad I read it.
Oh and find yourself someone who loves you like Stephen King loves his wife. Seriously. It’s a joy.
- Beauty – 2 stars
- Story Genius – 1 star
- The Book of Lost Things – 3 stars
- On Writing – 5 stars
On Writing saved this from a bit of an abysmal month (but remember – 3 stars is good for me) and so the average is 2.75 which I’m rounding up to 3.
Last month I said that I was working my way though my TBR on an alphabetical basis which was thrown off by my purchase of reference books.
For September I shall throw it off again!
I’m taking part in Foxes and Fairy Tales ‘Mythothon’ – you can find all information here.
I am very much not likely to complete this as there are 11 prompts and I reckon I can push myself to 5 but hey-ho, give it a go! Anything that I can’t meet in September I will spill into October.
Here is the journey:-
I have worked out what books I’m going to read but for now will only let you in on Prompt 1 which is ‘read a book with an animal on the cover or in the title.’
I shall start with The Deathless Girls on account of the white bear in the corner! And also because I want to read it. Ahem.
Not much aside from reading, writing and working! I’ve managed to see a few friends now in a controlled socially distanced way which has been lovely!
Still a sexy work in progress.
Why is it sexy? Why not?!
How was everyone’s August? Are you like me and are now far too overexcited for the autumn?
Have you read any of the above? If so let me know what you think!
Speak to you soon!