Posts Tagged ‘novel’

The Testaments

Saturday, March 13th, 2021 | Books

The Testaments is a novel by Margaret Atwood. It is a sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale. There are a couple of very mind spoilers in this post.

Released 34 years after the original, it is set a few decades after the original and tells of the final days of Gilead as told by a series of different narrators: Aunt Lydia, a girl from Gilead and a girl from Canada. The final part of the novel is narrated by a history professor several hundred years in the future attempting to piece together the final days of the failed state.

I enjoyed the novel a lot. probably more so than the original. Atwood comments in the opening that she wrote the book due to so man requests from fans with the implication that it would provide closure. In some ways, I felt this was not needed. It was a dystopian novel: should there be a happy ending? Does it detract from the horror if we know it is going to be alright in the end? But maybe that is a comfort that I, as a man, do not need but others might.


Thursday, May 16th, 2019 | Books

Dietland is a novel by Sarai Walker. It follows the adventure of an overweight protagonist as she explores the weight loss industry and has since been made into a TV series.

I tried to give it a good go but ultimately I couldn’t get into it. As an observational piece on the way society treats overweight people, it is very astute. However, as a piece of storytelling, it’s not so good and seemed to walk the line between a real-world novel and fantasy reality in a way that really jarred with me. I couldn’t quite suspend my disbelief.

The Time Traveler’s Wife

Friday, April 13th, 2018 | Books

The Time Traveler’s Wife is a novel by Audrey Niffenegger, and a rare gift of one at that.

Like most great novels, it is a love story. In this case between Clare Abshire, a normal and well-to-do girl, and Henry DeTamble, a man who suffers from chrono-impairmen, which causes him to time travel randomly and unpredictably, living him to fight for his life in a variety of situations.

It sounds like science fiction, and technically it is. But it’s not for science fiction fans, so if sci-fi isn’t your thing, don’t let that put you off. It’s a love story through-and-through with interesting philosophy thrown in to boot.

I can’t honestly say I was gripped the whole way through. At first, the ideas are novel, which keeps it interesting. But, the middle of the novel dragged for me. I had to put in some willpower to keep reading.

The effort was well rewarded, though. The ending is powerful, moving and bittersweet. I don’t really do crying, but if anything came close, this was about it. If you enjoy fiction, this is well worth a read.

The Book Thief

Sunday, August 6th, 2017 | Books

I confess that I have not fared well with Markus Zusak’s novel The Book Thief.

It is certainly a well-written book and interesting story. Who doesn’t love death as a narrator? However, it has not captivated me. Half way through I found that my reading simply stagnated and I did not get any further.

I’m just not that excited to find out how it ends. And, well, I kind of know that already, because it’s included in the story. No doubt there were some exciting twists to come. But I shall never know.

Summer on the Horizon on iBooks

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016 | Books, News

Yesterday I announced that the Leeds Restaurant Guide had returned to the iBook Store. Today, I am pleased to announce that my novel, Summer on the Horizon, is available on the iBooks Store for the first time.

It is already available from Amazon in paperback and Kindle edition, and is now available on the iBooks Store as well.


The Wind in the Willows

Monday, August 29th, 2016 | Books

I read The Wind in the Willows many times as a child. It is a lovely story so while looking for a low cognitive load and pleasant read, it seemed like an excellent choice. It was. It is such a fun story and moves at a pace that it is difficult to get bored. There was none of the usual awkward drag I find plagues most novels at least once. This is despite, or possibly in part because, I knew what was coming next.


The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

Monday, January 11th, 2016 | Books

The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul is a novel by Douglas Adams. It is the second book in his Dirk Gently series.

I tried reading the novel a few decades ago and never got very far, so it was nice to make a fresh (and successful attempt). In between a saw the BBC TV series, which was fairly entertaining.

I was so-so on the novel. The humour and wordplay was very good. I found myself laughing at several points. However, I was not as much of a fan of the story line. Why are gods suddenly wandering around? It seemed an odd combination of fantasy, detective and humour. It was okay, but no h2g2.


Summer on the Horizon proofs

Friday, January 8th, 2016 | Books, News, Photos

Back in November I took part in NaNoWriMo and successfully completed my first novel. I sent it off to the printers just before Christmas and was pleasantly surprised a few days ago when the proofs dropped through my door. I created the book via CreateSpace and it was a bargain for the proofs at less than $3 per copy. I did spend more than that on shipping though!

Apparently, the done thing when they first arrive is to take a load of pictures of yourself posing with your book. Let it never be said I do not sometimes join in. Here is a bunch of pictures of my book in various locations.

I have already spotted one mistake. It was on the back cover of all places. Though I did not give the cover a proper proofread, so there is some hope that my proofreading was successful. Unlikely though. When we published the Leeds Restaurant Guide, I proofread it, Elina proofread it several times, and three of my friends proofread it too – and we’re still finding mistakes.


Here is a spread of the books.


Here are the books stacked up on a table.


Here is the book on my bookcase.


Finally, here is the book sat next to the Leeds Restaurant Guide.

How popular is NaNoWriMo?

Saturday, December 26th, 2015 | Distractions

When I tell people that I did NaNoWriMo in November, they often ask how popular it is as most people have not heard of it. This is not surprising as I only heard about it through a friend at Toastmasters. It is predominantly an American thing, as the international shipping I refused to pay for my winners t-shirt demonstrates. It does have a large international following however, with plenty of people here in Leeds entering.

In total, 351,489 people entered this year. 40,301 finished it (11.5% of entrants).

In Yorkshire, a total of 1,034 people entered. The average word count was 20,000, though there is no break down of this. It could have been that 400 people finished it and 600 people wrote nothing, it could be a similar breakdown to the worldwide stats. Probably the latter.

A Dance with Dragons (Part One)

Saturday, November 14th, 2015 | Books

A Dance with Dragons is the 5th novel in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series.

I am in two minds about it. Some of it, especially at the start is just confusing. Sam is back at The Wall and being sent to Old Town. I don’t know why as he left in A Feast of Crows. Maybe I missed the sentence that said “Jon Snow had a flashback”, but having talked it over with friends I am not the only one to have suffered déjà vu. Davos too, though this is latter explained.

On the other hand, it feels like quite a bit actually happens in this book. Which is unusual for a book of this series which can often go for hundreds of pages without much happening. I think i like it this way.

A Dance with Dragons