One of the best things about blogging is the opportunity for people to share their opinions with likeminded people and given my love of literature, I am always open to recommendations of what books I should check out. In that same vein, here is a quick overview of a couple of my own recent reads (without any major spoilers). Please feel free to share your own thoughts if you have also read these particular books or even to leave your own suggestions of what I should read in the future if you, like me, are always on the lookout for a great story to get stuck into.
The 5th Wave
The 5th Wave – Rick Yancey
I really enjoyed this book. At its core it is a dystopian, supernatural thriller but there are a broad range of themes and ideas explored throughout; from love and human relationships to the devastating effects of war. The story is told in first-person but from the perspective of a few different characters, with focus shifting between them at intermittent points. Though at first I thought this slightly threw the pace off balance – mainly because I had already become so invested in the charismatic teenage heroine, Cassie – it soon became more accessible when the characters’ stories began heading towards an inevitable collision. With the two main protagonists going through very different experiences from each other, it can at times feel almost like two separate stories being told simultaneously in the mid-section of the book but this soon rectifies itself and becomes a wholly enjoyable read.
I rated The 5th Wave 4/5 on Goodreads.
Sleepwalking – Nicola Morgan
Another futuristic, dystopian, YA novel in which the hopes of mankind fall firmly in the hands of the teenage heroes; I had not even considered beforehand the arguably similar core themes when I chose to read these two books back-to-back. I found a few parts of Sleepwalking a bit rushed and didn’t find the heroine as appealing as I did Cassie in The 5th Wave, so perhaps did not get quite as immersed into the world of this book but what I did love was the heavily rooted links to literature throughout. Overall I loved the concept of the story and did enjoy reading it, though, without giving anything away; I will say I found the ending somewhat frustrating and contradictory to what had previously seemed to be the central theme of the book.
I rated Sleepwalking 3/5 on Goodreads.
Have you read The 5th Wave or Sleepwalking? What did you think?
As a budding writer still setting out on the early stages of what will hopefully be a long and interesting career, I try to keep an eye out for any particularly inspiring quotes from respected individuals that either sum up my own views on writing far more eloquently than I ever could or that inspire a new way of thinking altogether. Here are just a few of those that have had a particular resonance with me and a little bit about why I find them so motivating.
- “Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It’s a way of understanding it.” ― Lloyd Alexander
I think this reflects beautifully the idea that however far removed a story may seem from reality, the very best work in fiction always represents issues and ideas that are pertinent in our own lives.
- “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” ― Toni Morrison
I think this quote is a great reminder that first and foremost, you must always write a story that you would want to read. If you are not passionate about your work, how can you possibly expect anyone else to be?
- “You can make anything by writing.” ― C.S. Lewis
A really common question that writers get asked is; ‘What do you need to be a good writer?’ Though you could list a whole host of literary techniques that improve the quality of your writing, I strongly believe that the only thing that is an absolute necessity is an imagination and the ability to engage it. Then, as this quote says, the possibilities as to what you can achieve with your work are truly endless.
- “Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.” ― Stephen King
I am also a firm believer that in many cases; less is more. My favourite kind of books are the ones that provide you with enough information to tell a convincing and interesting story but simultaneously leave you with enough unanswered questions that you continue to think about them long after you finish reading the last page. Don’t quash your readers’ imaginations with too much information; tantalise them and allow them to flourish.
- “I would like to be remembered as someone who did the best she could with the talent she had.” – J. K. Rowling
It is a simple fact that no writer can achieve universal popularity. Whether one or a million people enjoy your story, so long as you know you have done your best and created something which you are proud to have your name on, then this is all you can ever hope for. Any success or admiration that comes in addition to that is only ever going to be a wonderful bonus.
- “No story lives unless someone wants to listen. The stories we love best do live in us forever.” – J.K. Rowling
Some more words of wisdom from Rowling, I love this quote as it sums up how I feel about my favourite books perfectly. No matter how many times you read them or how long it may have been since the last time, a good story that engages with our hearts and our minds never truly leaves us. It is my biggest hope that one day, even one person out there will feel that way about something I have written.
The first time I held my own book.
Though I have only done it once, I can already tell you with great certainty that publishing your own book is a very strange feeling. Having spent countless hours writing, re-writing and tweaking your story until you feel it is at the very best it can be, you package it up into a neat little paperback and send it off into the world to be judged. Holding my book in my own hands was great but the thought of it also being in the hands of other people was very odd indeed.
This is where things took a rather unexpected turn for me however, as it is the positive feedback that has thrown me the most. Being the natural pessimist that I am, I automatically assume that anything I write will be loathed by anyone else who casts their eyes upon it, meaning that by the time I was ready to proceed with publication of my debut novella, The Vessel, I had almost prepared myself for people to hate it. Imagine my surprise and confusion when suddenly people were congratulating me and offering words of praise for the world and the characters I had created.
Only now that the dust has settled and the gut-wrenching nerves have subsided somewhat (I couldn’t even be in the same room as my own family when they read it at first), I can finally start to embrace the positivity and, little by little, continue to let other people into what was once my private world but is now, quite literally, an open book to be shared by anyone who happens to be at all interested. Though the content of books will forever be subject to personal taste and individual interpretation, this is what I love most about them and I can’t tell you how utterly invigorating it has been to find that some other people out there have shared in my original hopes for what The Vessel could be.
A strange feeling perhaps but one I certainly hope I’m lucky enough to experience again.
Welcome! Blogging took off ages ago and so before you all tell me; I know I’m more than a little bit late in jumping on the bandwagon. Given this, I feel I should just briefly explain why I’m starting this blog and more importantly, why now of all times.
As some of you may know (hopefully you will if I’ve been getting the word out enough), I just recently published my debut novel, The Vessel. Obviously I would love for as many people as possible to be able to read it and the best way these days to build a profile and raise awareness for pretty much anything is to blog about it! Plus it’s a great excuse for me to spend even more time doing what I enjoy and I can’t really think of a more apt way to try and spread the word about my writing than by writing about it some more…
So, here we are with the start of this wee blog where I plan to post (hopefully somewhat) regular updates about the book and the experience I had creating and publishing it, future books which I hope to bring to life, my freelance writing work, as well as some other little bits and pieces to do with books and such like in general.
I hope you stick around and like what you read.