Article on Rodham – Featuring “Awfully Opinionated For A Girl” Totebag @csittenfeld @penguinrandom #Rodham #RandomThingsTours #Photographs #Totebag #Fiction #NewRelease

“Awfully Opinionated For A Girl”

Article of a Totebag and Review of Rodham

After reviewing the briliant new book – Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld, published by Penguin Random House, they decided to gift an absolutely fabulous tote bag, which I thank very, very much. It is such a wonderful and generous gift. I am incredibly pleased with the tote bag and have already used it. I absolutely Love it! It’s a sturdy canvas bag, that is also a very practical, decent size. The quote “Awfully Opinionated For A Girl”, printed on the bag is fabulous.
Thanks to my friend, Vikki Deacon, who was willing to take photos of me. modelling the bag, after my idea, that it would be fun to do a photoshoot and a good way of showing off this wonderful bag.
Once I worked out poses and we discussed locations, the fun was on…
We have a few pics and a small slideshow at the bottom too. A link to the review I published on the book  – Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld can be found below the mosaic of pics. I absolutely recommend this wonderfully fascinating, all captivating book.
We had fun and we hope that you do too.

 Rodham Crouching

What I love most about the bag is the quote:

“Awfully
Opinionated
For A Girl”.

Put it this way,
I shown my mother and she smiled and said “oh yes, that’s made for you.” My friend who socially distanced took the photos, happened to agree. The thing is, those who know me, know I have opinions on most things. Lots of opnions. I keep telling my mother it’s the way she brought my brother and I up, to be able to form opinions and to just be generally independent.

Off we went, socially distanced, to a cycle path, that used to be a railway, since I have strong opinons on transport and also walk along this path.

Rodham at bridge

Since I have opinons on trees and have a love of them, we  rambled onto nearby woodland.

Rodham Looking At Sky

Check out the pics and discover the review link below.

Rodham Cover

Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld is Available Now!

Click the link to my Review

Thanks again for having me on the blog tour and for the totebag. It all made my day!

rodham Curtis Sittenfeld Author Pic

An Online/Virtual Event with Erica James @EricaJames #LettersFromThePast #VirtualEvent #NewBook

So, regular readers of my blog will know, that I have been attending some online events and writing some of them up on my blog. Today I sat in a room and watched the author Erica James do a Q&A session. So take a look to find out a snap-shot of her new bestselling book and a little bit about this very successful author.

Letters From the Past cover

A New Book

She has a new Bestseller called Letters From the Past, set in the early 1960’s. It may be a large book, but the chapters are lovely and short and it sounds a book that many will enjoy. It is a sequel that to Coming Home to Island House, but stands perfectly well as a standalone.
Erica James talked of her sons living in Seattle and Tokyo and it was when she was in Seattle with her son there, driving by movie stars houses, that she then decided to set the scene for her character.
I have been very lucky in being given the opportunity to review this wonderfully interesting sounding book on the 20th of April, so you will find out my thoughts and a little more about the story then, that will hopefully inspire you.

Inspiration

A place, something she sees, something that touches a nerve can inspire her.

Swallowtail Summer is set in Norfolk and for research she read up on, which she sounded quite taken by, and then travelled there to be in situ.

Pastimes

Erica James likes watching  some sport such as ice-skating and  gymnastics, her icon there being Olga Korbut. Her favourite sport of all is F1 racing. She also likes to do gardening and knitting. She clearly enjoys reading too as she has many books on her shelves.

Writing and Reading

For budding writers, she says read, write words on the page and don’t worry about who will read it, it might just be for you and that’s okay and enjoy the process.

Erica started writing as a hobby for escapism and then went on a writers course and a conference and it sounded like someone helped her out and she got an agent from Curtis Brown, who she is still with and got published by Orion. The writing came from a love of reading and she wondered if it was as fun writing a book as it was reading and it turned out, for her, it is and she has now written many books.

The covers of books have changed over the years to suit a new audience and as fashions change, book covers change. 

She enjoyed writing Letters from the Past and many of her other books.
She really likes A Woman of Substance by Barbara Taylor Bradford, although perhaps one of its time and people find they themselves change over the years. It was interesting hearing her talk so candidly about going back to a book to re-read after many years.

She says A Breath of Fresh Air is a book of hers that would be great for escapism. I reckon, all of them are really good to try for that.  Also try out her latest, enticing sounding book – Letters From the Past.

A few of her many books

Hamnet Q&A #Hamnet #MaggieOFarrell #VirtualEvent #Writing #NewBook

A Q&A featuring Maggie O’Farrell about her new book Hamnet and more…

I joined to watch this insightful Q&A with Maggie O’Farrell. Her latest book is Hamnet, available now. For those wondering who she is or what Hamnet is about, here is a quick introduction and blurb, before I get onto the event.

Maggie O’Farrell is the author of the Sunday Times no. 1 bestselling memoir I AM, I AM, I AM, and eight novels: AFTER YOU’D GONE, MY LOVER’S LOVER, THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US, which won a Somerset Maugham Award, THE VANISHING ACT OF ESME LENNOX, THE HAND THAT FIRST HELD MINE, which won the 2010 Costa Novel Award, INSTRUCTIONS FOR A HEATWAVE, which was shortlisted for the 2013 Costa Novel Award,  THIS MUST BE THE PLACE, which was shortlisted for the 2016 Costa Novel Award, and HAMNET.
She lives in Edinburgh.

Blurb For Hamnet

Their mother, Agnes, is over a mile away, in the garden where she grows medicinal herbs. Their father is working in London. Neither parent knows that one of the children will not survive the week.

Hamnet is a novel inspired by the son of a famous playwright. It is a story of the bond between twins, and of a marriage pushed to the brink by grief. It is also the story of a kestrel and its mistress; a flea that boards a ship in Alexandria; and a glovemaker’s son who flouts convention in pursuit of the woman he loves. Above all, it is a tender and unforgettable reimagining of a boy whose life has been all but forgotten, but whose name was given to one of the most celebrated plays ever written.

Hamnet

The Main Event

It was interesting to hear that Maggie O’Farrell gets editorial feedback from her husband. So she doesn’t really tell her husband too much about what book she is working on or indeed chat much about a book until it is finished. She went onto talking about how all writing is personal, but decided harsh feedback can be in the best interest to either cut a character or to see if it can be made better.

Why Write Hamnet?

She decided to write Hamnet because she studied Hamlet in Scottish Highers and was intrigued by the symmetry of the play’s name Hamlet and Shakespeare’s son. She was interested in the fact that there is so little known about Shakespeare, but the fact that the play (and in fact one of his most popular and enduring plays), was named after his dead son, so she wanted to bring his son more to the forefront. It sounded like she had an interest in writing this story for quite some time.

Research

In the research, she found most interesting in the gaps as there is a lot of potential to fill them. Research was library based and she discovered that he probably would have walked 4 or 5 days between Stratford and London.

She did some physical research. This included, cultivating her own medicinal garden and making bread as in Tudor time to really get a feel for and experience what that was like for research purposes for her book.

She talked about, with research, you need to know more than you actually put down on the page on the book, so it doesn’t feel like any essay or clunky.

Crafting her voice

How long it took her to craft her voice, she doesn’t feel she has ever completely nailed it, but that keeps her writing.

She found it awhile to pinpoint where in the chronology of Shakespeare where to start to write. It sounds like it took a few attempts, but then she found the pinpoint of where to start the story, the voice came.

Setting and Shakespeare (or not)

The setting is of course Stratford-upon-Avon, which she did travel down to (it really is a very long way from Edinburgh), but it was an effort she made.

For a chapter about an infected flea, Maggie O’Farrell tried to imagine what it was like in Warwickshire and what it was like for the plague to spread through the place and coming into your house. She then researched the trade routes and also how it travelled. 

Shakespeare is not mentioned by name in the book because everyone has a sense of him and wanted to ask readers to think about him again and to see another side of him. She reckoned a lot of Shakespeare’s drama happened, not all on stage, but in the time with his son and she didn’t want him to be the focus of the book, when it is about Hamnet.

Routines and Challenges

She tries to do something new with every book and sets herself challenges and creates almost like hurdles to go over.

For writing, she doesn’t really have a routine. She has sometimes a big surge of inspiration that is followed by a bit of a fall, but thinks both is useful to get words on paper and then it can be looked at critically and then writing can be edited.

She wrote a memoir, but not all in chronological order. She wrote diaries, but didn’t look back at them when writing the memoir. There are gaps that she didn’t want to divulge everything or write someone else’s narrative.

What’s Coming Next

Maggie O’Farrel has a children’s book coming out around the autumn. A girl wakes up one night and a snow angel has come into her bedroom. It will be a bit like a modern fairytale.

Hamnet

A Message of Kindness #KindnessMatters #Kindness #Books

This can be an anxious time for many. There are so many uncertainties around employment, health, the thought of being cooped up indoors, shops closing their doors and more… I think of every one of you because we are all in it together. I hope that everyone is well and if very sadly you are not, that you recover very soon. I appreciate that you are still following and reading my blog, even if it isn’t the first thing on your mind at this time.

I also wanted to share a bit about what is going on in the book world and also with ways for you to access books as bookshops close their doors (there are more than you may think) and also to give some thought on just spreading kindness to each other (from a distance of course). That and reading is good for periods of uncertainty. Yes, there are times you have to do something, but be kind to yourselves too and allow times  for rest and a little escapism. Books are a very safe way to do this.

Reading can help for a bit of escapism, they are terrific for your health and wellbeing. This has been proven, but how do you get books when bookshops are closing their doors and Amazon is only delivering essentials (and this is not including books, although their e-books are available, as are books on Audible)?

Independent bookshops are doing deliveries and some are solely online.
In no particular order:

Bert Books is solely online
Woodbridge Emporium
Highland Books
Toppings & Co
Hive.co.uk
This is just to name a few. As businesses struggle, but also become innovative, now is a fabulous time to support them and also you will know that you can do it from your own home. These independent bookshops are however also giving books for free (not because they can particularly easily afford it, but because they want to support the keyworkers, the elderly, those who have self-isolated).

Authors are also self-employed and are worried about their future. Most are not very rich. There is a saying going round – support authors and they will support you. Well, this, I have found to be true. Check out people like:

Adam Croft who is giving away a set of books for free. He will take no royalties and make nothing from a set of Knight and Culverhouse books. Excellent Police Procedural. I am also reviewing the latest in a new series from him and Stephen Moore soon too, so look out for that.

Lydia Monks – author of What the LadyBird did is doing activities over on Facebook.

Libby Page has done my mum a great kindness in giving her book 24 Hour Cafe to her because she is self isolating.

Urbane Publications have been/are giving some books for free too.

Keep a look out on publishers and authors sites and twitter for what they are doing, this is only a small fraction of it.

There’s a lot more acts of kindness happening out there too (whilst also practicing social distancing very diligently).

What about us bloggers? Well, we too are spreading messages of kindness. We are also reviewing and promoting more because there are authors who have events cancelled for their new books. We know that books are good for supporting people’s health, especially when unwell or having to stay indoors. We are there for each and every person to support the best we can as a book community. Individually we are also doing other things as well, outside the book community, but that’s a whole different story.

Take care and also keep reading. I have new books I am reading and reviewing. Enough to keep me going until summer, which means you get to know the latest and best books to see you through this time too.

Next review is Paper Sparrows, and it is an amzing book for you to discover.

Thank you!

 

Happy World Book Day #WorldBookDay 2020 #Books #Bookish #CrimeFiction #Fiction #NonFiction #Kidslit #PictureBook #HistoricalFiction #History #Romance #Biography #ContemporaryFiction

Happy World Book Day 2020

Happy World Book Day and I hope that everyone is having a fabulous day, however you are celebrating. There are many author events going on around the UK in public and community libraries as well as schools. There are also lots of other bookish events too that can be participated in as you read for pleasure. There are also other ways you can participate in World Book Day, if you cannot attend an event, such as, curling up with a good book and leaving an author a review on Waterstones and Amazon.

Today I am attending a World Book Day Event to hear a talk by rising star Alison Belsham, author of The Tattoo Thief and then it will be my turn to host an event up here in Scotland too on Monday with Liz Treacher – author of The Wrong Envelope and The Wrong Direction.

I also have some great books in my review pile for both adult and children that are being published between this month and summer.

In the pile I am currently reading are fiction and non-fiction books. In no particular order of publication or review dates, look out for book one of a new series by Ben Kane – Made in Battle, Forged in War; Us Three by Ruth Jones (yes, the actor/writer from Gavin and Stacey and author of Never Greener); Eileen – The Making of George Orwell, Eileen was his wife, but not much is known about her, until now…; Paper Sparrows; A Conspiracy of Bones – the latest book by Kathy Reichs; I return to reviewing again for Lesley Kelly for her book Murder at the Music Factory – the latest in the health of Strangers series (read as a series or stand alone); I return to The Bobby Girls series to review the latest book – The Bobby Girl’s Secrets to see what the police volunteers are up to in their second and newest book.

I return to Janey Louise Jones children’s books to see what else Princess Poppy has in store now she has worked out how to save the bees. This time she is tackling plastic. I also will be reviewing for a charity Helping Hands who have had the Duchess of York on board to craete books  about how to tackle bullying, first days at school and strangers. There is a fantasy book to continue the series about Akra The Healing Stone, by Vacyn Taylor and a new book – Snow Child by a new author – Larraine Harrison.

This is just a few of the books sitting on my pile to date that you will start to see full reviews for soon. So, lots of books for you to look forward to exploring and to see what I think of. Coming up very soon are some children’s books and then an adult thriller that Lee Child and many other authors have a lot of praise for.

I of course thank all the authors, publishers and blog tour organisers for all these amazing opportunities to review and of course I thank just as equally, the readers of my blog as without everyone, my blog couldn’t exist.