I received a PDF for Steven Pressfield’s “Nobody wants to read your …” as part of the launch marketing, and almost put it down immediately. It’s written like a cross between a journal and a James Patterson book (long chapters are 2-3 pages, many are as brief as a couple of lines), and written with a brain-dump kind of style that initially appears random and unconnected. When I read self-help books, particularly writing books, I make notes of the interesting points, and it wasn’t long before I realised I was writing more notes from this book than I have on many other recent reads. And after a while, those random chapters start to join up – they tell the story of Steven’s journey, the mistakes he made and the strategies he used to overcome them. His advice covers all forms of writing: fiction, non-fiction, even scripts for porn films. An enjoyable read, recommended.
The wife likes these books, she’s the target market – that CSI loving, police drama tv loving market. Sales are high, these guest-written Patterson books fill the top sellers lists, but they’re to crime what Mills&Boon are to romance – accessible and undemanding. The writing is awful, the plots are flimsy, yet they’re fast moving and written in the style of a daytime soap – addictive to the target audience. I would give this 2 stars, the wife 4, so 3 seems like a reasonable comprise.
I’ve been reading Neil Gaiman’s work for over a quarter of a century, making me feel far older than I feel. From his Sandman days, through other DC projects like Black Orchid (Dave McKean’s original artwork of the final page hangs in my hall) onto his liason with Terry Pratchett, his podcasts and graduation speeches. He is a unique talent, a master story teller for adults and children alike, someone keen to share his skill of the craft. I bought this book for my teenage daughter, so was surprised to find it in the store’s 9-11 section. She loved it, and so did I, proving this is an ageless classic, and one to be enjoyed by oldies and children for generations to come.
Book supplied by Netgalley for an honest review.
There’s not many books, especially debuts, where within the first few pages the quality, the craftsmanship, the attention to detail, makes you realise you’re reading something special. Oliva’s The Last One falls squarely into that category. From the moment Zoo’s voice entered my head in the second section, I was hooked, racing through the book in just a couple of days. Comparisons, not unkindly, will be made to Station Eleven (on genre), and The Night Circus (on style), both of which also blew me away. As with Station Eleven, it’s easy to find fault in the author’s post-apocalyptic world, but that’s not the point. Just lie back and let the quality of the prose, the strength of the voice, wash over you. This is story telling at its best.
Anne Tyler is one of the greats. The subtlety of her writing, the huge swathes left unsaid, allows the reader to mirror their own experiences onto her character’s. I’ve read much of her work, and though her writing style is consistent, the uniqueness of her voice and the depth of her characters, make her books classics. She writes about humdrum, no thrills, no spills, just average people going about their average lives. The Amateur Marriage, in my opinion, is one of her best, and given the quality of her writing, that makes this quite exceptional.
Note: this book was supplied by Netgalley for an honest review.
I liked this book. It’s a fairly standard psychological thriller, but nicely done and paced to hold the interest. The writing was good, some lovely prose in places. I did feel Margot was a bit too wobbly at times, but a small criticism for an otherwise solid read.
As Castellani says, “in devising and drafting a narrative strategy, an author makes all sorts of craft decisions that influence how the work will be read and enjoyed”. He adds that the language can seduce the reader, maintaining the staying power of the work. It’s both of these that won me over – the book opens with his account of an incident in Philadelphia, the quality of the writing and the questions posed made it clear that this book will be truly memorable. He goes on to analyse the work of other writers (E.M. Forster, Grace Paley, etc.), hardening his points by recommending other sources (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Ted talk, John Gardner’s book, etc.), to show how those narrative decisions can make or break a novel. The book becomes more academic towards the end, losing some of the passion of those early chapters, but it’s a must read for anyone interested in the construction of fiction.
Despite this second instalment having some good themes (anti-hero uprising, food shortages, etc.), I enjoyed it less that Gone. It’s turning into one of those series where you just know however bad it looks, the lead characters are going to emerge alive. Hopefully Lies will have more surprises. Still, it’s good stuff, so a solid 4 rating.
I read this with my daughter, and we both loved it. Gone is a cross between Lord of the Flies and Akira – super powers affecting children in a world without adults, yet far smarter and better written that the recent splurge of YA dystopian novels. As with all super power books, you end up thinking, “Why didn’t so-and-so just use their power there?”, but, only a minor criticism, highly recommended. Stephen King likes this series, I’m not going to disagree with him!