Tag Archives: Reading

Sharing a jewel for #writers. HOW TO BE A WRITER: 10 TIPS FROM REBECCA SOLNIT via @lithub

Thanks to Unsplash and its collaborators for another great image
Thanks to Unsplash and its collaborators for another great image

Hi all:

I’ve just read an article by Rebecca Solnit titled:  HOW TO BE A WRITER: 10 TIPS FROM REBECCA SOLNIT. JOY, SUFFERING, READING, AND LOTS AND LOTS OF WRITING

Although I didn’t know Rebecca Solnit before, after reading this article I will check her out.

Here the link to the article, that I recommend. Advice on writing is a very personal thing, like advice on anything else, but this one is more a philosophy of writing. It might resonate with you or not, but if you have a chance, give it a read.

Just a summary of her points (I couldn’t say it better, so go and read the article, but just in case you need convincing):

How to be a writer. Ten Tips:

  1. Write. I know this one is a shocker, but she makes great points about not worrying too much about how good or bad it is at first.
  2. Remember that writing is not typing. Here her point is that writing is a process and that putting fingers to keyboard is the end of such process (well, the culmination, as we all know about editing), but a lot of things go into writing, including planning, thinking, researching.
  3. Read. And Don’t Read. Read but be selective with your reading. Only read what speaks to you.
  4. Listen. Don’t Listen. Listen to feedback but be your own writer.
  5. Find a vocation. Write because it is your passion.
  6. Time. You’ll need time for it, so prioritise (not your duties, but everything else).
  7. Facts. Get your facts right, as relevant to your genre.
  8. Joy. This I recommend you read her article for. It does not mean write only when you feel like it, but rather, find what writing can bring you.
  9. What we call success is very nice and comes with useful byproducts, but success is not love. Don’t become enamoured with other things than the job at hand and don’t get distracted.
  10. It’s all really up to you. No matter how much advice, how many courses, coaches, etc, you are the one.

Don’t forget to check the original article, here.

And a little bit about Rebecca Solnit from the same site Literary Hub:

Rebecca Solnit
Rebecca Solnit

San Francisco writer, historian, and activist, Rebecca Solnit is the author of seventeen books about geography, community, art, politics, hope, and feminism and the recipient of many awards, including the Lannan Literary Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. She is a contributing editor to Harper’s, where she is the first woman to regularly write the Easy Chair column (founded in 1851).

Thanks so much to Rebecca Solnit and to Literary Hub for this inspiring article, thanks to all of you for reading, remember to like, share, comment, CLICK, and keep writing!

Olga Núñez Miret

http://www.authortranslatorolga.com

Survey Question-Why do you put that book down?

Here is the first of our LWI Survey Questions. Never a list, just the one. Yes, I know there are two but the second is clarifying the first. The results will be shared, minus names provided.

Make sure to share this post around through social media and reblogging.

 

Dancing on Dewdrops – A Review

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The summary on Amazon.com reads:

Dancing on Dewdrops is an entrancing collection of poems, prayers, and short stories that capture the utter joy of youth, wrestle with the inherent elements of change, offering strength and solace—all while celebrating life across several generations. The rustic poetry, prayers, humor and short stories for children will appeal to all ages. Dancing on Dewdrops provides inspiration, delivering the lasting imagery that leaves an indelible imprint on the heart and human spirit.

I honestly wish that I could agree with this summary, or with the one other review that loved the book and gave it a 4 out of 5 stars. Unfortunately, this books is (as far as I know) my very first 1 star review.

This book of “rustic poems, prayers, and elegant short stories…” was not at all what I expected, and not at all up to my standards for any of the sections.

In the first section the author has provided us with several poems of varying lengths that mostly either deal with boyhood or death/loss. However, the poems read as though he couldn’t decide between traditional rhyming schemes and ‘free form’ poetry and so got caught in a bad in-between. On top of that, many of these poems do not portray what the descriptions say they are about. Poetry is very subjective, but in my opinion these could have used more work.

In the second section we are given a few prayers, mostly short and mostly not rhyming (though a few fall back into the couplet trap here and there). However, they all sound very bland and typical of prayers I’ve been hearing weekly for my entire life. I was really hoping for more elegant writing and more eloquent prayers.

The third section is labeled as ‘short stories’ but they are really a few short tales of the author’s childhood. While these are mildly interesting, the writing is, again, not as well refined as I believe that it should be and each tale needed a bit more editing and polishing.

Finally, they fourth section contains a duology of children’s stories, labeled as having ‘morals’ these tales are long winded, written in language too advanced for most still reading ‘children’s’ stories, and needed much more polishing before being put out for show. I believe with another revise and edit session (or two) this book could really pop, but right now everything is metered, rhymed, and written in a way that makes it feel off and grating to my nerves in a very bad way.

The cover, however, is GORGEOUS!

Beth’s Book Reviews: Forgotten Things

Forgotten Things

Written By: Stephen Mullaney-Westwood

A little about the author (taken from his Amazon.com author profile):

Stephen has tasted the earth from the depths of his soul, grown anew and stretched his branches towards the sun, with roots firm and strong in their darkness…

Born in Hertfordshire, England, he had a hard time adjusting and finding his place in the world. His sensitive and artistic nature outcast him somewhat, and his mental health suffered throughout those teenage and young adult years.
But, ultimately, it was a journey and writing has always accompanied him along the way.
Now more positive, older, and wiser at the grand age of 40 he writes with a potent message which comes from a deep love of the natural world.
To write, and to breathe the words of nature is the place where Stephen belongs, doing something he truly loves.
The faeries and spirits of the woods have always asked to be heard, and Stephen has offered to be their voice.

His first release is ‘Unforgotten Tales’ a collection of thirteen short folktale style stories, modern fables and fairy tales, written in a method now often forgotten. Intentionally allegorical, darkly twisting while yet enlightening and inspirational.

Fairy tales are one thing…faeries, are another.

Find Stephen at:

http://mullaneywestwood.com/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCR2K7T5hgh5L6E9ux979OZQ

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stephen-Mullaney-Westwood/1452647591654264?fref=ts

 

Product Details

 

Book Synopsis: ‘Forgotten Things’ is a novel of nature in contrast; sinister, beautiful, wise and innocent. With an otherworldly twist it explores the importance of influences; of growing up, whilst still looking backwards.
We see through the eyes of one man recounting the bitter sweet memories and adventures of his childhood. His love for the woods… his draw to them… but also his fear.
Similar to a classic ghost story the ‘horror’ is subtle and unnerving, while the ‘fantasy’ is simply a glimpse into another reality.
The little people are our antagonists, spoken of in whispers and presented in their true form; age old beings which transpose boundaries- taken seriously and sitting in mysterious juxtaposition with the secular world.

 

Review:

 I’m not going to lie to you, I had a difficult time with the beginning of the book. Mr. Mullaney-Westwood’s writing style is not typical of anything I had previously enjoyed reading and it took me three tries to get past page two. I even messaged the author at one point and asked him about his choice of voice and use of incredibly in-depth descriptive passage. There are several places that tell us the showing instead of showing us the setting (did that sentence make sense? I know what I meant so if you don’t, ask…I may or may not be able to remember).  However, I’m glad that I pushed on and got into the meat of the book.

 

Our narrator and main character are both named Adam Briggs. In fact, they are both the same Adam, approximately a lifetime of adulthood apart. The narrator, a grown Adam, is remembering the year he turned twelve and moved with his family to Grandfather’s little cottage near the wood. We follow his twelve year old self as Adam meets Grandpa for the first time, navigates a new place and his same old parents…and learns a bit more than he expected to about things that aren’t supposed to be real.

 

The personification of natural elements, the conversations between Adam and his Grandfather, and the peeks into the world behind the ‘veil of reality’ are all beautifully rendered.

 

 

Life becomes very surreal when a dream becomes reality.

 

The dream here is both that of country life and Adam’s new knowledge of the Little People that is being fed by his newly adored Grandpa. Coming into this new life as a sort-of brow beaten, mother run twelve year old city boy, Adam is discovering all sorts of new things coming into his world. Let’s talk about the other characters for a moment:

 

Mother – Adam’s mother, Annie Briggs, is Grandpa Finn’s daughter and seems to be his direct opposite. While Adam wishes to explore and use his imagination fueled new country knowledge, Annie is begrudging in her approach to living again in Cornwall. Having moved to her childhood home in order to help her ailing, aging father, Ann is cold and reserved throughout the story as she lectures, begs, and hopes that her child will not be pulled in to her father’s world.

Father – Thom Briggs, the enigmatic, whipped husband to Annie. He is very work centric and distracted for most of the scenes in which we find him.

Grandpa Finn Penrose – Ann Briggs’ father, Grandpa is an aged dreamer and firm believer in the Little People. His illnesses may keep him from wandering the wood with his Grandson now, but he is a veritable treasure trove of information and support as Adam embarks down this new path.

Martin – The first boy from his new school that Adam meets, Martin is sensitive, shy, and as fond of the coastline as Adam is of the wood.

Josh – Large framed boy, sporty and protective. Martin’s best friend and, soon enough, Adam’s as well. The three boys are incredibly close and adventure together throughout the story.

 

“Old Bob’s Wood” – The local name for the woods behind Grandpa’s home. Adam becomes intimately acquainted with the woods, and their inhabitants, throughout the book.

 

There are animals, there are ghosts, there are mysteries, and there are hard lessons to learn. Friendships, family dynamic, and growing up are all part of life and, unfortunately, sometimes twists and turns make us get banged up a bit. Forgotten Things weaves it all beautifully together. This book combines old world charm, the ‘truth’ on the Fey world, and a coming of age story that will keep you entranced and pushing forward to learn more. Do not let the density of the story, the deep well of truths hidden in what some will call ‘fairy stories’ stop you from picking this up. Mullaney-Westwood has put together a story in which the characters are real and you forget that you’re just an audience member.

 

Character Believability: 4
Flow and Pace: 3.8

Reader Engagement: 3.5

Reader Enrichment: 4
Reader Enjoyment: 3.8
Overall Rate: 3.82

So Just What Does Make A Good Book Good? by @RobertHughes05

I’m guessing everyone will have an answer to this question, but what do you think makes a good book good?  After all, we have all started reading a book which we never finish, usually because we don’t particularly like the story, but what is it that makes us read a book right to its end?

As writers and authors we could all put a list together and, I’m pretty sure, we’d all have lists where many of the answers would match up.   Without a doubt answers such as the cover, the opening paragraph, the way it is written, and the genre would appear, but if I were to ask you to choose just one answer, what would it be?

Eighteen months ago I would have given you a completely different answer to that I am going to give you today, because eighteen months ago I was hardly writing anything apart from the occasional greetings card, shopping list, or message. Back then I would most definitely have given my answer as the genre of the book, because just about every book that was Science Fiction and included time-travel would, in my opinion, be good.  Then, just over twelve months ago, I began writing my own short stories and, over time, my answer has changed.

Simply by putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, and writing short stories, I now find myself not considering some books good unless they have cliffhangers at the end of some of the chapters.  The cliffhanger spurs me to read on.  I’ll look at the clock and it may be well beyond midnight and I have an upcoming early appointment in the morning, but if I’ve just finished reading a chapter and there’s a cliffhanger involved, then I’ll read on.

I also like to come away from a book or short story where the author has given me the choice to decide for myself what may have really happened.  Some authors have a wonderful way of letting the reader decide for themselves and I have always been interested with the answers given back by the readers.  They are often very varied with maybe a few crossing paths.  As authors and writers we all have incredible imaginations and most of us will come up with some wonderful imaginative answers, but I wonder how many of us would come up with exactly the same answer?

Hugh Roberts

 

 

 

 

 

@RobertHughes05 (https://twitter.com/RobertHughes05)

Hugh Roberts Google+ (https://plus.google.com/108647661887874692677/posts)

hughsviewsandnews.com (http://hughsviewsandnews.com/about/)

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The benefits of reading. The reader organisation and what are the benefits reading has for you?

Hi all:

Our business in this site is talking about books, writing, publishing, and of course reading. In my facet as psychiatrist I’ve been known to use examples from books and talk to patients about literature (and films. Many want to talk about anything but their mental illnesses, very understandable when in some cases they’ve been in contact with services for years and have been asked the same questions over and over).

I was very interested when a few years back, whilst on a meeting with some forensic psychiatrist, one of my colleagues who worked at Rampton Hospital (a High Secure Mental Hospital in the outskirts of Liverpool) told us that she had joined in an initiative of the University of Liverpool to try and bring reading to a variety of settings, including mental health hospitals. The idea was that volunteers would run groups and would read especially selected texts (could be poems, short stories, etc) to groups of people (in that case patients) as a way of trying to engage them in an activity unrelated to the everyday of the hospital, and have interesting discussions and exchanges. The volunteers could be people who had nothing to do with the institutions or settings, and there was training and texts offered to them.

Chocolate books in a bakery for St George (St. Jordi) in Barcelona
Chocolate books in a bakery for St George (St. Jordi) in Barcelona

The group seemed to work fairly well and I was happy when I heard the same scheme would come to the area where I was working. Before I left the job I attended a presentation showing the positive effect the group had had so far. I’m keen on volunteering to be a facilitator and once I have a more fixed schedule I’ll try and give it a go.

This is the link to the organisation (The Reader) so you can visit and get some idea of what they do.

http://www.thereader.org.uk/

Here they describe who they are and what they do:

We bring people and great literature together.

Our primary way of doing this is through our innovative shared reading model, bringing people together in weekly groups to listen to poems and stories read aloud. Thoughts and experiences are shared; personal and social connections are made.

There is no pressure for anyone to read or even speak because simply listening to the literature and the other group members can be a powerful stimulant. The group leader seeks to create an atmosphere of lively collaboration, which is best felt in the literature itself:

A bolt is shot back somewhere in our breast,

And a lost pulse of feeling stirs again.

The eyes sinks inward, and the heart lies plain,

And what we mean, we say, and what we would, we know.

A man becomes aware of his life’s flow,

And hears its winding murmur; and he sees

The meadows where it glides, the sun, the breeze.

– Matthew Arnold, The Buried Life

It is our ambition to make shared reading widespread so that you could go to most places in the UK and easily find a group. We currently read with 2,000 people per week across a variety of settings; in the workplace, in prisons, on mental health wards, in care homes, in schools and in local communities.

Why do we do it?

Because, as one group member told us:

“you need it, you just don’t know you need it.”

The central power of the shared reading model means that we can help individuals to make changes to how they feel about themselves and how they relate to other people. Take a look at the Reader Stories dotted throughout the site to discover more about how shared reading is making a difference to people of all ages and backgrounds.

On the Events, Courses and Reading With Us pages, you’ll find other ways in which we are bringing people and literature closer together.

– See more at: http://www.thereader.org.uk/what-we-do-and-why.aspx#sthash.4gQ9ygU3.dpuf

I’m sure the model is replicable anywhere… or you might be able to create your own version.

I leave you another link discussing benefits of reading (this time individual reading but…).

What are the personal benefits reading has for you?

http://selfhelpfix.com/benefits-of-reading.php

Thanks for reading and if you’ve found it interesting…like, comment, share and CLICK!