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Hi everyone,

 

I thought a blog would be a great way to exchange book recommendations as I love reading and writing reviews. I've also started putting pen to paper, and have recently completed a creative writing course. Maybe you'll be reading one of my books down the line!?

 

If you want to share about what you're reading, or anything at all for that matter, let loose and go for it!

Reading progress update: I've read 5%.

The Golden Notebook - Doris Lessing

A bit of light reading when I've had enough of writing.

Nanowrimo 2018: Update 6

I haven't updated for a few days because I've been writing at night and by the time I've finished, it's been so late that I haven't felt like it.

 

On Saturday I went to the Nanowrimo 24-hour Belfast write in. Did I actually last 24 hours?? No, but I managed 6 and a half! I wrote 3000 words and even though I planned to write more I felt pretty good about it. That brought my total up to roughly 12,700.

 

Last night I was on a roll and wrote more than I've done at any point this month, 3020 words! I'm very happy with that because it now means I'm at a total of 15,304 words! 

 

I've been writing a little more every day for the past week which is great. I'm consistently writing a little more every day which really cheers me up. I have a lot on this week, so I'm not sure how much I'll get done, although on Sunday I'm going to another Belfast write-in which'll boost my work count.

 

I'm really happy with my progress thus far and am really starting to enjoy writing my story. May it continue.

 

 

 

Nanowrimo 2018: Update 5

I hit 10k! Yea! I'm going to write loads this weekend and hit 20k in the next few days. I'm going to reward myself with a chapter or two of my Belinda Bauer book now. I'm nearly done with it, so I might even get that finished tonight, too!

 

Nanowrimo 2018: Update 4

Today's been a tough one. Nanowrimo is conversely great and terrible, because when you don't feel like writing you're forced to sit, chained to your page and continue writing. That's great because it means you're still continuing with your story, but if you're writing crap, which I've felt at many moments throughout today, you have to continue. It doesn't help that I'm quite far behind. I'm supposed to be at 13,333 words today, apparently, but in reality I'm only at 8116. I've written roughly the same as yesterday, 2057 words, but I'd really like to catch up. Those words were much harder to find today. I looked at my update posts from 2 years ago and at this point I was sitting at over 12,000 words. I'm still going to do this, but I'm really feeling the desperation of being behind and trying, trying, trying to catch up. I'm determined to write a lot more tomorrow. I even managed to do some reading today, which was great. I probably should have been writing, though...

 

Nanowrimo 2018: Update 3

I was supposed to post an update every day and I did intend to post one yesterday, but alas, I didn't. I'll make sure I post as much as possible from now on, though.

 

I wrote consistently today and reached 2041 words! My total word count now stands at 6059 words. I'm very happy with the progress I've made and know I'm going to kill nano this year! I'm going to write a lot the rest of this week and hopefully get up to 20,000. There's a write-in in Belfast tomorrow and on Saturday there's a 24 hour one. It starts at 3pm on Saturday afternoon and goes on until 3pm Sunday. I don't think I'll be able to manage the full 24 hours, but I'll go for a few hours. 

 

Nanowrimo 2018: Update 2

I wasn't going to post an update today because I haven't written nearly as much as I wanted to, but I planned to put up a daily one to keep me accountable, so here I go.

 

This morning I woke up with the intention of writing 5000 words. I fill out a scene form before I write every scene as it helps me figure out where that particular bit is heading. I filled out quite a few this morning and then sat down to write.

 

I managed to write 1172 words and then I started to feel a little unwell. I have a chronic illness, so it happens. It's annoying, but it always sorts itself out in the end, so I've decided I probably won't write anymore today, I'll just make it up in a day or two. My total word count is now at 2496. 

 

Nanowrimo 2018: Update 1

I'm doing nanowrimo (national novel writing month), for the second time. The goal is to write 50,000 words of a novel in the month of November. I did it in 2015 and even though it was really hard, I completed it. I wrote the first draft of my previous novel in those 30 days. I wasn't happy with the resulting manuscript and even though I didn't publish it, I learnt a lot while writing it. I'm therefore doing it again this year. I'm going to be writing something I'm really excited about, which is what I hope will get me through this arduous month, not to mention the litany of Belfast write-ins that I'll be going to. On Wednesday night I went to my local nanowrimo kick-off party. The people were lovely and it really helped motivate me to get this novel done.

 

So, how am I doing so far? Well, I had quite a late night after the local nano kick-off party due to some Halloween celebrations, so I haven't written all that much so far. I've managed to write a paltry 1324 words so far, but I've got a long way to go, so I'll catch up. I have a very comprehensive plan of what I want to happen where, so when I get going I'll kill it.

 

 

Reading progress update: I've read 47%.

The Shut Eye - Belinda Bauer

Wowh, this novel is going by quickly. I wish I'd made sure all my bingo books were as short as this one!

Reading progress update: I've read 5 out of 224 pages.

Repeal The 8th - Emmet Kiran, Aisling Bea, Tara Flynn, Lisa McInerney, Louise O'Neill, Caitlin Moran, Anne Enright, Sinéad Gleeson, Una Mullally

This anthology is perfect for research purposes and was just published! It comprises the literature, personal stories, opinions, photography, art and design produced by the movement that catalysed 2018’s momentous referendum.

Reading progress update: I've read 24%.

The Shut Eye - Belinda Bauer

A woman who's young son has disappeared goes to a medium in a desperate push to find him. Trademark Bauer and of course that means I'm really enjoying it.

 

Reading progress update: I've read 100%.

Lethal White - Robert Galbraith

I finally finished it! It was very enjoyable, but overly long.

Reading progress update: I've read 82%.

Lethal White - Robert Galbraith

I really like this novel but jeez, it's far too long.

The Mothers by Brit Bennett

The Mothers: A Novel - Brit Bennett

I’ve been doing research for my upcoming novel, the good kind that means I can read a load of books (guilt free!) that concern the topic I’m going to write about. My novels going to have a sub-plot concerning the recent referendum that just took place in the south of Ireland, namely about repealing the eight amendment. It’s a contentious issue at the best of times, so I’m not going to go on about it here, except to say this book was one of the top one’s that supposedly treated the issue realistically. And I can confirm that it definitely did treat it realistically and sensitively, at that.

 

The story is set within a contemporary black community in Southern California and concerns Nadia, a seventeen-year-old girl who’s just lost her mother to suicide. In her grief-stricken state she takes up with the local pastor’s son, Luke. The pregnancy that results and the subsequent cover-up has a ripple affect that’s felt throughout the years and effects many relationships. Nadia’s best friend, Aubrey, becomes an integral part of the story a bit later on and even her relationship with the former is affected by the decisions made in her youth.

 

I couldn’t believe this was a debut novel and had to keep reminding myself of that fact. It kept a steady footing throughout and wove together seemingly isolated incidents in a way that felt very authentic.

 

I did have a few issues with it, even though I thought it was well done, such as the tendency to show rather than tell. I find this indicative of how much I love and think about a book after I’ve set it down. It’s so much more fulfilling as a reader to draw your own conclusions from the evidence, rather than being led there. Secondly, while Aubrey (Nadia’s best friend) was rather sweet, she didn’t fare particularly well when having to rely on her own esteem, rather than when she was reflected through Nadia. Luke, who was very much key to the narrative, also struggled to assert himself adequately. Every character seemed to falter when operating solo of Nadia and since this was written in third person multiple, it was felt quite viscerally. I would love to have seen how this book read in first person. I think it may have been ever-so-slightly stronger.

 

The religious theme was woven throughout, but at no time did it become preachy. Most of the main characters were involved in the church, but there was never that intrusive feeling you sometimes get. Nadia didn’t even seem particularly religious, neither did Luke.

 

The novel was more about an abstract notion rather than a concrete one, the what if’s in life and if they can sometimes mean more than reality.

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Normal People - Sally C. Rooney

I fell in love with Rooney after reading Conversations with Friends. I’ve read a lot of good books this year, but this one had something special about it. The fact that it (and this) was set in Ireland, where I’m from and reside, is just another reason it was so special.

 

The story follows Marianne and Connell who know each other from school, even though they don’t interact there. At school Marianne is seen as a bit strange and this is the key factor in Connell not telling anyone when they strike up a relationship.

 

The narrative, written in third-person multiple, follows Marianne and Connell throughout the next few years when they go to University and have an on-again-off-again relationship.

 

The strength of the author lies in her ability to write flawed, authentic characters who the reader cares deeply for, regardless of the mistakes they make. Her pacing is also a strength, never too much or too little given away. It’s not hard to see why Rooney was on the longlist for the Booker, although I found her debut to be stronger. While the characters were expertly crafted, I did feel there was a little too much similarity between them and those from her debut, no more so than their political beliefs. While I agree with much the author states in regards to politics, that kind of rhetoric always feels forced. It can also come off as a little preachy, but luckily it wasn’t overdone. Another thing is when novels are mentioned in a narrative, like what a character’s reading. This always comes off as a bit pretentious, even though I do find it interesting as it adds to a character’s depth.

 

I feel like I’m being unfair to the novel by essentially picking it apart. I did still really like it, it just felt a bit similar to her debut.

Reading progress update: I've read 50%.

Like Other Girls - Claire Hennessy

This book is infuriating! The protagonist is a bitch and I can't understand her motivations, the pacing is off, the writing isn't great, the characterisation is bad etc. Regardless, I feel I have to continue to get to the part where it mirrors what I plan to write. I really wish I could dnf, but I can't. Agghhh!

Reading progress update: I've read 5%.

Like Other Girls - Claire Hennessy

Okay, here I go again. I've just discovered this book, written by a fellow Irish writer, tackling the same issue I'll be in my novel. It's a tricky theme, so I need to see how other authors handle it. I hope I get Lethal White finished and that elusive bingo!

Currently reading

The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing
Progress: 5%
Repeal The 8th by Emmet Kiran, Aisling Bea, Tara Flynn, Lisa McInerney, Louise O'Neill, Caitlin Moran, Anne Enright, Sinéad Gleeson, Una Mullally
Progress: 20%
The Shut Eye by Belinda Bauer
Progress: 100%
Like Other Girls by Claire Hennessy
Progress: 100%
Lethal White by Robert Galbraith
Progress: 100%