Saturday, 18 February 2012

Book news

One of the things that doing an Open University Creative Writing course teaches you is to critique others writing. After all reading others work and commenting on it is a great way to sharpen up your own writing - of course this is assuming that one's time is spent writing and not just reading! And so, a little while back, when one of my writer pals from the village encouraged me to join Newbooks magazine as a reviewer, I decided to use my new found skills and see if this was something for me.

As a test the mag sent me one of their previously reviewed books to read and then I had to write a 250 word piece on it. The book was An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin - yes, that's the Steve Martin. It was one of those books that I'd possibly pick up in an airport shop and read the first page, only to put it down again knowing it wasn't for me. I'd read other people's reviews where they'd raved about it, but frankly, I was disappointed. I wrote what I thought was a balanced review, keeping it as objective as I could.

I didn't hear anything from the powers that be at Newbooks and thought I'd maybe blown it, but then yesterday a brand spanking new book dropped through my letterbox. I was so excited.

The book I was sent is The Parisian's Return by Julia Stagg. If readability is anything to go by, by this morning I was already almost half way through it, which bodes well, and I have some mental notes as to what I might say when I come to put fingers to keyboard, though I have to admit to feeling the weight of responsibility that comes from actually writing a real review.

And other book news? I've been chosen for the 2nd year of it's inception to hack around on World Book Night delivering 25 books to deliver to the unsuspecting folk in my village, which is half the amount I had last year. This year my book is The Player Of Games by Iain Banks. Just one slight problem and that is that I'll be away on Holy Isle facilitating a course on that night. Mountain Man has said he'll take my place, but I think I'll get in touch with the officials and ask if that's allowed. After all I don't want any embarrassment if it's reported back that a balding man with a beard was seen knocking on people's doors trying to force books on people. No, I definitely don't want that!

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