But first, a bit of news about a story of mine which is in the very latest (popped through my letter box this morning) issue of Take a Break Fiction Feast .
Three years ago this month (I can’t believe it was that long ago!), I went to Rome for the weekend, with some friends – you may remember, there was a bit of hysteria over me getting the date wrong – anyway, while we were there, the Rome Marathon took place, on the (rainy!) Sunday.
It came as something of a surprise to us. Half the roads were closed – or at least, could only be crossed when the race marshal let you through the tape – and at one point, when we tried to get to the Vatican, one of my friends managed to dash across, before the marathon runners appeared but two of us got left behind, stuck behind the tape for about ten minutes (but it seemed like forever!) until there was a space in the runners and we could make it over too. At the time I thought .. hmm, I could write a story about this.
And, eventually, I did and it’s in Take a Break as ‘Long Distance Love’ (although my title was ‘Marathon Man’).
The money I’ve earned from that story has almost paid for the weekend in Rome, so if anything happens to you, at home or abroad, good or bad, it’s always worth asking yourself, ‘Is there a story in this?’ (just don’t do what I did and wait 2.5 years to write it!)
Right, so what did I read in February?
• The Reading Group – March – Della Galton
• The Lie -Helen Dunmore
• Road Ends – Mary Lawson
• The Trouble with Goats and Sheep – Joanna Cannon
Ooh, I’ve just noticed – they were all books by women, as were the books I read in January! That’s not a conscious decision but perhaps I should try reading something by a MAN this month.
What can I tell you about the books I read?
Della’s ‘March’ Reading Group was a nice gentle read. Not my favourite of the four I’ve read so far (I think the Lady Chatterley one is my fave!) but I’ve read other reviews by people who claim it IS the best, so there you go! We all like different things!
I love Helen Dunmore’s writing but I have to admit ‘The Lie’ is very sad (it’s about a man who’s come back from the trenches of WW1 and is clearly suffering from PTSD). I wouldn’t recommend that if you’re feeling a bit low because, believe me, it will make you feel worse.
Mary Lawson is a fabulous writer – I’d put her on a par with Anne Tyler, although she hasn’t written as much. If you liked ‘Spool of Blue Thread’ by Anne Tyler, then I think you’d enjoy ‘Road Ends’. Beautifully written and atmospheric. One of those novels, that puts you ‘there’ and makes you forget that you’re reading a book.
I’ve wanted to read this novel for ages because so many people rave about it but I think it’s a bit of a ‘Marmite’ book. I can understand those who don’t like it because it is a little ‘twee’ (and unbelievable) in places and the main character – Grace – is very ‘knowing’ for a ten year old.
But I loved the sparkling dialogue, it’s really funny and sweet in parts and it filled me with nostalgia for the ’70s! Whimsies, Jackie and Wagon Wheels all get a mention! There are some really poignant parts too and Joanna Cannon, apart from being a bit of a whizz (left school at 15 with one ‘O’ level and later became a doctor, for example…), really can write.
So, that’s me. What have you been reading?!