Summer reading

Hey there,

Hope your day is going well so far.

I read a Book Riot post recently about creating your own summer reading syllabus. I usually have a rough idea which books I want to read next but recently, because I’ve been setting up the business, reading regrettably has taken a bit of a back seat. When I read the post, it reminded me that I would probably benefit from a bit of forward planning. And taking the whole summer as the timeframe allows for flexibility around everything else that’s going on.

As for many of us, there are a TON of books in my TBR pile, mainly fiction. The Book Riot post reminded me to think about the non-fiction books that I’ve been meaning to read, so I decided to build them into my list. This is what I’ve come up with:

Non- Fiction

Digital Photography for Dummies – Julie Adair King

I’ve had this book for a couple of years and have dipped in and out, but I’d like to make a concerted effort to understand my camera better. I’d like to be able to do my own product photos and generally keep a better pictorial record of our family life.

Mindfulness – Mark Williams and Danny Penman

Although practicing Mindfulness has been very popular for years now, it’s not something I’ve looked into before. When I wanted to find out more about it, my first reaction (obviously) was to buy a book. This too has been sitting on the shelf for a bit, so it’s on the list!

Mindfulness

A field guide to Fabric Design – Kim Kight

In the not too distant future, I would like to incorporate textiles into the business in addition to the stationery. Anything I can read to improve my skills in this area and I’m in!

Yes, please – Amy Poehler

I bought this after watching Parks and Recreation on Amazon Prime. The reason I haven’t read it yet is I feel the text is so blimmin’ small! If there’s one thing that will get my goat about a book, it’s when I find the text uncomfortably small to read. I’ll see how I get on, but I think it might be a struggle.

Fiction

The Little Flower Shop by the Sea – Ali McNamara

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned before on the blog, but one career I’ve thought about pursuing a few times in my life is floristry. Any books about flower shops, therefore, are likely to be up my street, so I’m looking forward to reading this.

Us – David Nicholls

Like the rest of the world, I really enjoyed One Day so I have high hopes for Us. I know I’m very late to the party with this one, but hey ho.

What are your summer reading plans? I’d love to know, so please get in touch either here or on Twitter!

Enjoy the rest of your day.

Elle. 🙂 xx

TAPESTRY_front150dpi copy Amazon and websitesIn hope, in pain,

we lose, we gain,

but always and forever

the human heart braves life

in light and in shade.

Tapestry. A collection of twelve short stories exploring the complexities of life and love. Available now.

 

Do you think about the author?

Hey there,

Hope you are well today.

I have a quick question for you:

When you are reading a book, do you think about the author?

The reason I ask is, I was speaking to a friend recently who said she always thinks about the author when she’s reading a book. She wonders why they wrote the story they wrote and what parts of it are true to their real life.

That’s not something I’ve ever really done.

When I’m reading, I think of the characters, the story and I’m in that world (if it’s a good book). The thought that someone wrote it rarely comes into my head. Even if it’s a book I’m not enjoying, I’m thinking more about the writing or the story, I’m not thinking or wondering anything about the author or their life.

The only caveat to this is, when I read books by online buddies whom I feel I know, I occasionally get a jolt of, ‘Ooh, X wrote this,’ but that’s more just pride in their achievement/excitement on their behalf, because I know what it takes to write a book. In the generality, I don’t do what my friend does.

I’d love to know your views on this, so please get in touch either here or on Twitter and let me know!

Elle 🙂 xx

 

TAPESTRY_front150dpi copy Amazon and websitesIn hope, in pain,

we lose, we gain,

but always and forever

the human heart braves life

in light and in shade.

Tapestry. A collection of twelve short stories exploring the complexities of life and love. Available now.

Who do you auto-buy?

Hey there,

Hope your day is going well so far.

This statement won’t come as a surprise to you – I buy a lot of books 🙂 .  Since I’m starting my own business and expect not to have an income for a while, I’m trying to rein it in a bit, but there are some people whose books I definitely don’t want to miss out on. I thought I’d let you know who I auto-buy when they bring out a new title. Although I do read the blurbs of their books, I wouldn’t need to before it goes in either my real or virtual basket.

The list below is in no particular order. I’m deliberately leaving out the writer buddies whom I feel I know. They are definitely among my favourites, but they know that already. 🙂

So here we go:

Jojo Moyes

I think the first Jojo Moyes book I read was The Last Letter from Your Lover which I enjoyed, but it was Me Before You that put her on my auto-buy list. I’m sure this is the same for a lot of people. I haven’t yet made my way through her backlist, but I will.

Miranda Dickenson

I read Miranda’s It Started with a Kiss first and then immediately picked up her first two books. She’s been an auto-buy ever since because her stories are so gentle and positive. It’s impossible not to feel uplifted and, due to the normal timings of her releases, it usually means that Christmas is just round the corner.

Jenny Colgan

Again I love the gentle and feel-good nature of Jenny’s books. The first one I read was Meet Me at the Cupcake Café. I think my favourites are the Rosie Hopkins series, although who wouldn’t love their own puffin after reading about Neil in the Beach Street Bakery books?

Kate Morton

If I remember correctly I think I found out about Kate Morton because The House at Riverton was a Richard and Judy pick. I love the settings of Kate’s books and they’re quite long – really books to get immersed in.

Katherine Webb

A TV book club recommendation, I first read The Legacy. I enjoy books set in two time periods and a considerable amount of secret uncovering never hurts! My favourite of Katherine’s so far is A Half Forgotten Song. It’s quite dark, about obsessive love, but it’s set in a couple of time periods with some good old secret uncovering, so what’s not to love.

Toni Jordan

It was while I was reading Addition that I decided, after many years of faffing about, that I was definitely going to write a book of my own, so it has a special place in my heart. There was nothing specific about the book itself that made me think that, I just enjoyed it and thought “I want to be able to do that.” Perhaps it was a timing thing, but it meant I immediately picked up Toni’s next book, Fall Girl, when it came out. It became, and remains, one of my favourite reads. In Fall Girl the main character, Della, is a professional con artist. I find that Toni Jordan’s storylines are a little bit different and this makes for a very entertaining read.

Emylia Hall

The Book of Summers, set in Hungary, was the first book of Emylia’s that I read. I read it not long after I’d been to Budapest, so I loved reading about a different Hungarian setting. My favourite, though, is A Heart Bent out of Shape, set in Lausanne. It’s a coming of age book about first love, growing up and the events that can shape a life.

Liane Moriarty

What I love about Liane Moriarty’s books is the way she observes and writes about ordinary lives and situations, proving that nothing is actually ordinary at all. It’s hard to pick a favourite but, if I had to go for one, it would be What Alice Forgot about a woman who hits her head and loses a decade of her life. Eep.

What do you think about this list of authors? Who do you auto-buy? Not that I need a bigger TBR pile, but I’d love to hear your recommendations!

Enjoy the rest of your day.

Elle. 🙂 xx

TAPESTRY_front150dpi copy Amazon and websitesIn hope, in pain,

we lose, we gain,

but always and forever

the human heart braves life

in light and in shade.

Tapestry. A collection of twelve short stories exploring the complexities of life and love. Available now.

Reading habits

Hey there,

Hope your day is going well so far. I thought I’d do another tag post, this time about reading habits. Once again I first saw this on Portobellobookblog – Joanne takes part in good tags!

IMG_1681

Do you have a certain place at home for reading?

No, not really, although on the settee in the living room, I suppose. I mainly read when I’m not at home, either on the bus or at lunchtime. Occasionally I snatch time in the evening, but not often.

Bookmark or random piece of paper?

Bookmark. Random bits of paper would upset me.

Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop at the end of a chapter/a certain amount of pages? 

I try to stop at the end of a chapter but sometimes I have to stop wherever because it’s time to do something else (like get off the bus).

Do you eat or drink when reading?

Yes, if I’m at home or work. Not on the bus!

Multitasking: music or TV whilst reading?

No. I don’t mind it being on in the background, but it’s someone else’s doing, not mine.

One book at a time or several at once?

One at a time. Occasionally two, but one of them would then be non-fiction.

Read at home or everywhere?

More often outside than at home. I can’t read while walking down the street like some people manage to do, though.

Read aloud or silently in your head?

Silently.

Do you read ahead or even skip pages?

Hmmm. I’d love to smugly say no, but occasionally I do have a quick look ahead. I always feel guilty, though.

Breaking the spine or keeping it new?

It doesn’t upset me if I have to break the spine of a book, but I don’t do it as a matter of course.

Do you write in books?

How dare you. 😉

If you join in the tag, please let me know so I can check out your reading habits!

Much love,

Elle. 🙂 xx

TAPESTRY_front150dpi copy Amazon and websitesIn hope, in pain,

we lose, we gain,

but always and forever

the human heart braves life

in light and in shade.

Tapestry. A collection of twelve short stories exploring the complexities of life and love. Available now.

 

How will your weekend go?

Hey there,

Happy Friday!

Today is a very exciting day. It’s debut novel publication day for the very lovely Jan Brigden from award-winning writing group The Romaniacs. Jan’s been one of my online buddies for years and I was so happy to finally meet her in person earlier this year at the Romantic Novelists’ Association summer conference. 🙂

Jan’s novel As Weekends Go is published today by Choc Lit following her success earlier this year when she won their search for a star competition. I’ve been looking forward to reading As Weekends Go for AGES and now I finally can. So excited. 🙂 🙂

As Weekends go

What if your entire life changed in the space of a weekend?
When Rebecca’s friend Abi convinces her to get away from it all at the fabulous Hawksley Manor hotel in York, it seems too good to be true. Pampering and relaxation is just what Rebecca needs to distract herself from the creeping suspicion that her husband, Greg, is hiding something from her.

She never imagined that by the end of the weekend she would have dined with celebrities or danced the night away in exclusive clubs. Nor could she have predicted she would meet famous footballer, Alex Heath, or that he would be the one to show her that she deserved so much more …

But no matter how amazing a weekend is, it’s always back to reality come Monday morning – isn’t it?

As Weekends Go is available here. Sounds a good ‘un, doesn’t it? Gazillions of congratulations, Jan, and I wish you EVERY success! xx

I know how I’m spending my weekend, with my nose in a book, as it goes.

Much love,

Elle. 🙂 xx

Additions to my TBR pile

Hey there,

Happy Friday! It’s nearly the weeeekend! 🙂 🙂 🙂

I’ve stocked up my TBR pile! Not that it needed it, but I couldn’t resist. That happens, right? 😉

These lovely fellas are in my sights for the next few weeks:

IMG_1444

 

The Little Flower Shop by the Sea – Ali McNamara

The Best Thing I Never Had – Erin Lawless

The Great Village Show – Alexandra Brown

Us – David Nicholls

Plus on my kindle:

Please Release Me – Rhoda Baxter

After You – Jojo Moyes

A Parcel for Anna Browne – Miranda Dickinson

They should keep me out of mischief for a bit.

I’m sure your TBR pile is sky high too but, if you have room for one more *coughs and shuffles feet* can I interest you in Tapestry? Just a thought. 😉

Happy Reading!

Elle 🙂 xx

TAPESTRY_front150dpi copy Amazon and websitesIn hope, in pain,

we lose, we gain,

but always and forever

the human heart braves life

in light and in shade.

Tapestry, available 29 September 2015. To pre-order, click here. 🙂

 

Five for Friday – Recent reads

Hey there,

Happy Friday!

It’s been some time since I shared my favourite books, so here, as a Five for Friday, are my top 5 recent reads:

Little Lies – Liane Moriarty

Set in the worlds of the parents of Pirriwee public school, there is a death following the parents’ quiz night. Little Lies covers the six month period up to the death, until we discover who died and how it affects the lives of those involved.

The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion

Don Tillman wants to find a wife and sets about using scientific methods to do so. Whilst intent on his purpose he becomes embroiled with Rosie, a young women the opposite of Don in every way, who is trying to find her biological father. Don is confounded by Rosie and starts behaving in ways very alien to him as he gets more involved in her life. It’s a lovely, warm, funny book and I’ve recently discovered a sequel, The Rosie Effect has just been published, so yay!

11/22/63 – Stephen King

I don’t like reading horror, so when I realised this was a Stephen King book that I would actually be able to read, I was chuffed. 11/22/63 is about a man going back in time with the goal of preventing Kennedy’s assassination. Jake Epping leaves 2011 to live a life that will lead him to the crucial day in November ’63. It’s a lengthy book and I’ve read a lot of criticism of it because of that, but I didn’t find it too long.

What Alice Forgot – Liane Moriarty

Alice hits her head at the gym and wakes up worried she has damaged the baby she has been carrying for three months. The trouble is, she’s nearly 40 and the baby is now a teenager with two younger siblings and she can’t remember the intervening period. Liane Moriarty is fast becoming one of my favourite authors as she always provides an unusual and interesting story.

Apple Tree Yard – Louise Doughty

Yvonne Carmichael is a respectable, middle-aged scientist who embarks on an affair that turns out to be the catalyst for a series of events that land her in the dock at the Old Bailey. At first I thought this book was moralising along the if a woman does bad things, worse things will happen to her lines, but is was cleverer than that. It’s one of my top five reads because it was so well written and was a genuine can’t-go-to bed-till-I’ve-finished- it page turner, which doesn’t happen often, but I didn’t find it a comfortable read.

I’d love to know about your favourite recent reads, so if you want to tell me, please get in touch either here or on twitter.

Much love,

Elle 🙂 xx

Reading, guilt and trying not to die with a big TBR pile

Hey there,

Hope you are well today.

One of the occupational hazards of being a writer is the inability to stop buying books. I have a To-Be-Read pile that will keep me going until Christmas at least, but that doesn’t stop me adding to it regularly. Too regularly. OK, all the time.

A while ago I bought 1001 books you must read before you die. I was a bit nonplussed to find that I have, in fact, only read eleven of the books mentioned and only a few of the others appear in my TBR pile. Obviously I’ve heard of far more of them and some I “know” through film and TV adaptations, but I had a little panic. I’m a writer. Should I have read these books or at least want to? Should I be able to talk knowledgeably about these books because I am a writer?

The panic was fairly short-lived because I realised I was being ridiculous. 1001 books does not seem to be suggesting “worthiness” or that the list is anything other than shaped by the judgements of its contributors, but it did leave me counting up my own list of books (some appearing in 1001 books, some not) that I haven’t read but think I “should”. As a result, I feel quite guilty.

Perhaps it stems back to primary school when I was told off for reading too many Enid Blyton books. I get the point the teacher was probably trying to make, that it would have been good for me to branch out to experience other writers, but all it did at the time was put me off. I would have branched out in my own time (I haven’t read a Famous Five book for a good few years 😉 ) and I think I would have ended up reading more as a result. Looking back, I feel that wasn’t the right thing for the teacher to say and I wouldn’t be happy if anyone tried to suggest similar to my children.

I love reading and read a lot, but there are just SO MANY BOOKS. With luck and a steady tailwind I hope to live long enough to read at least 1001 more, but who knows if I’ll ever get to all that I should?

But is there actually any “should” about it? I’m in two minds. On the one hand I think people only “should” read whatever brings them joy, comfort, entertainment or whatever they are looking for from a book. On the other hand, some books have had, and continue to have, more influence than others (like many of those mentioned in 1001 books). Should we form a first-hand opinion of why that is, or is that just perpetuating their influence at the expense of the other books that would therefore have to remain unread by us?

100_0549

What do you think? Are there books you feel guilty that you haven’t read? Do you think there are books we “should” read? Or do you think we should define our own “must read before we die” list? (I’m not looking for titles particularly, it’s more the concept, although if you want to talk titles, please feel free.) I’d love to hear from you, either here or on twitter.

Elle xx