Reading November 2018

I picked up Why Will No-One Publish My Novel? A Handbook For The Rejected Writer by Fay Weldon from the library because I love a writing ‘how to’/guidebook (I wrote one!) and this one is an adorable (almost) pocket-size. That was another reason why it stood out among the shelves. (Penguin has a range of Pocket Penguins.) This was a short read, with some interesting personal stories scattered throughout and a few good tips. I like the one about using Latin tags if you’re after a nice strapline (or cosmic statement, as she calls it) for your book – it could help also for coming up with ideas of what to write about. I don’t necessarily agree with her on some points, like her chapter ‘But what happens if you’re a man in a feminised world?’, but her experience in the publishing world is in no doubt. If you’re wondering whether this book is a good match for you, her website has a lot of similar information as well. You could check that out first.

Doctor Who: The Women Who Lived – Amazing Tales for Future Time Lords by Christel Dee and Simon Guerrier features the stories of the brilliant women featured in the show over its 50+ history. It’s a noble idea and ties in wonderfully with the latest Doctor’s incarnation, but I couldn’t help feeling a little disappointed when I finished the book. I think this is partially due to the way the stories of the characters were told – usually synopsised to a page, with the companions and major players getting more space. Due to the convoluted nature of the plots, like River Song coming and going during Steven Moffat’s reign, it can be hard to follow along with timelines – and on paper, it’s equally baffling, if not more so. (This pains me to say, as I’m a Whovian, but I could be in the minority.) On the plus side, it’s a beautiful book – the illustrations are perfect.

I loved Meanjin A-Z: Fiction 1980 to Now, edited by Jonathan Green, as I do with all things Meanjin-related. It’s a pleasure to come across new stories written by favourite writers (Cate Kennedy, Jennifer Mills, Paddy O’Reilly) and become a fan of writers new-to-me (Briohny Doyle and Beejay Silcox). I finished with the appreciation (again) of how much I love short stories!

I came across Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier by Mark Frost at the library as well and I thought “Woo! Score!”. Then I logged into my account and discovered that I requested the library make the purchase back in March of this year. So thank you, past-Karen! Written to accompany the latest season (I’d be careful to watch it before reading as events are referenced, so there will be spoilers), it is slimmer than the last book The Secret History of Twin Peaks and some have argued that it’s not as good. I enjoyed it but was frustrated by the treatment/appearance of some characters, namely Donna Haywood and Audrey Horne. It’s tragic that Margaret Coulson’s chapter did not make its way onto the show (I don’t think it quite fit the timeline, but when did that ever stop Lynch?!). Without spoilers, I could picture it all in my mind and it was beautifully written. Worth the book alone.

What are you reading this month?

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Karen Andrews is the creator of this website, one of the most established and well-respected parenting blogs in the country. She is also an author, award-winning writer, poet, editor and publisher at Miscellaneous Press. Her latest book is Trust the Process: 101 Tips on Writing and Creativity