Mark Haddon – The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time (Recently Read)

The Recently Read posts are not typical book reviews. As a writer, I do not believe I should be reviewing the hard work of other writers. These posts are simply books I have recently read and enjoyed and will share with you. They will not always be crime books as I am trying to widen my reading selection. I hope you enjoy some of these with me.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

Curious incidentThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is a murder mystery novel like no other. The detective, and narrator, is Christopher Boone. Christopher is fifteen and has Asperger’s Syndrome. He knows a very great deal about maths and very little about human beings. He loves lists, patterns and the truth. He hates the colours yellow and brown and being touched. He has never gone further than the end of the road on his own, but when he finds a neighbour’s dog murdered he sets out on a terrifying journey which will turn his whole world upside down.

 

 

My Thoughts;

I don’t know where to start. I absolutely loved the book.

From the point of view of a child -Christopher- on the autistic spectrum, it starts with the murder of a neighbours dog and Christopher’s need to find out who killed it. Along the way we learn a lot about him through his internal dialogue.

Christopher is exceedingly intelligent. He’s a maths whiz, taking his A levels when his school isn’t ready for him too. He takes solace at stressful times in maths problems.

We see very simply what things affect him and in the reading, it’s a little easier to understand the why, and my hope would be that anyone reading this book would take away from it patience and kindness if coming across a stranded boy like Christopher, unlike some of the characters in this book.

Haddon’s writing is clear and simple and transports you into the world of Christopher easily. When Christopher was shocked and scared I felt it with him.

It was a great read and I’d definitely recommend it. I know it’s been around for a while and I’m probably one of the last people to read it, but all the same, a great book!

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Living With Alfie

A couple of months ago I wrote a post introducing you to our new puppy Alfie after the loss of our beloved Springer Spaniel Bob. Alfie is a Cockerpoo.

I thought I would show you in picture format how he is getting on and settling in.

For my part, I find having him around just wonderful. The house feels like a home again. Though the 6 a.m. wake-up calls aren’t that welcome! He still needs some training as he’s only 4 and a half months old. He is great off lead, but not so good on his lead, but these are issues we can work on.

Anyway, here’s Alfie, growing.

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As you can see, he’s a cheeky fellow, but he keeps us busy and he’s adorable. He still has some growing to do, so in a few months, I shall share some more photo’s with you and our life with Alfie.

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Second Week Round Up of the A to Z Challenge

So, we’re half way through the A to Z challenge. I’ve not found it too bad so far… I don’t think… I was fairly organised for the first two weeks. The next two – not so much, so you could be in for anything! Oh, one thing – I have a great guest interview booked in for the fourth week, so keep your eyes peeled crime fiction fans!

Lets see what we discussed this past week;

F – Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury – Recently Read

G – Green Reader

H – How Do You Help Readers Discover Your Books?

I – Is How You Read, Rubbing Off On Your Children?

J – Jane Isaac’s Book Launch For The Truth Will Out

K – Killer Reads – What Do You Want To Read For May’s Crime Book Club?

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Killer Reads – What Do You Want To Read For May’s Crime Book Club?

Next Wednesday the 16th April, is the next Crime book club meeting. We will be discussing The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradbury. Details on that book can be found in this post Here.

What do you want to read for the meeting in May? The voting choices are below. You can vote in the comments below, on Twitter using the #crimebookclub hashtag or on the Facebook page.

Wrongful Death by Lynda laPlante

wrongful deathSix months after the body of Josh Reynolds, a London nightclub owner, was found and determined by police and coroner to be a suicide, DCS James Langton tasks DCI Anna Travis to review the case. Reynolds died from a single gunshot wound to the head, the gun held in his right hand. But details are emerging that suggest someone else may have fired the gun… As soon as she wraps up the case, Langton tells Anna, she can join him at the FBI Academy in Virginia for training. Meanwhile, a Senior FBI Agent, Jessie Dewar, crime scene expert, is seconded to Anna’s team as part of her research and immediately the competence of the original investigation team is questioned… 

 

Cold Killing by Luke Delaney

Cold killDI Sean Corrigan is not like other detectives. The terrible abuse he suffered in childhood hasn’t stopped him enjoying family life with his wife and two daughters, or pursuing an impressive career with South London’s Murder Investigation Unit. But it has left him with an uncanny ability to identify the darkness in others – a darkness he recognises still exists deep within his own psyche and battles to keep buried there. Now Sean’s on the trail of the most dangerous killer he’s ever encountered. The perpetrator has no recognisable MO, leaves no forensic evidence and his victims have nothing in common. But Sean knows they were all murdered by the same man. Now all he has to do is find the evidence, convince his bosses and stop the killing …before his adversary gets too close to home…

The Dinner by Herman Koch

DinnerA summer’s evening in Amsterdam and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant. Between mouthfuls of food and over the delicate scraping of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of politeness – the banality of work, the triviality of holidays. But the empty words hide a terrible conflict and, with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened… Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. Together, the boys have committed a horrifying act, caught on camera, and their grainy images have been beamed into living rooms across the nation; despite a police manhunt, the boys remain unidentified – by everyone except their parents. As the dinner reaches its culinary climax, the conversation finally touches on their children and, as civility and friendship disintegrate, each couple shows just how far they are prepared to go to protect those they love.

 

This post is part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. 

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Jane Isaac’s Book Launch for The Truth Will Out

I’m very lucky in that I can say that I’m friends with the wonderful crime writer that is Jane Isaac. In 2012 I read Jane’s first DCI Helen Lavery novel An Unfamiliar Murder and have been waiting for the sequel ever since.

Well my wait is over. Jane’s second novel, The Truth Will Out, was released last week to rave reviews, and last Friday I attended the launch party for the novel.

The launch was held about 100 miles from where I live and with a late hospital appointment and terrible traffic on the M1, I was a little late, but not too late for the cake!

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Yes, that’s a cake!

Jane looked fabulous and gave a lovely speech.

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And I met old friends and new at the launch. Something that is only made possible because of social media and as Jane pointed out in her speech, writing is a lonely process, so sharing that journey with a community of friends online in the modern world has been a wonderful experience.

Susi Holiday, Jane, Me and Dave Sivers

Susi Holliday, Jane, Me and Dave Sivers

Yes, I know, I should probably put in my bio that I’m a little vertically challenged!

The Truth Will Out is a great book and if you like a great police procedural with a genuine feel, a real woman as the protagonist, one we can all identify with and a great storyline, then I suggest you might like to take a look at it.

Here’s the blurb – there’s no need for the book cover photo, the cake is a perfect replica, which by the way, was rather yummy!

The Truth Will Out

“Everything’s going to be okay.” “What if it’s not?” Suddenly, she turned. For a split second she halted, her head inclined. “Naomi, what is it?” She whisked back to face Eva. “There’s somebody in the house… ” Eva is horrified when she witnesses an attack on her best friend. She calls an ambulance and forces herself to flee Hampton, fearing for her own safety. DCI Helen Lavery leads the investigation into the murder. With no leads, no further witnesses and no sign of forced entry, the murder enquiry begins. Slowly, the pieces of the puzzle start to come together. But as Helen inches towards solving the case, her past becomes caught up in her present. Someone is after them both. Someone who will stop at nothing to get what they want. And as the net starts to close around them, can Helen escape her own demons as well as helping Eva to escape hers?

Amazon UK.

 

This post is part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. 

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Is How You Read, Rubbing Off On Your Children?

Why do you read?

It seems like a simple enough question with a reasonably simple few possible answers. But have you considered the fact that your own reading habits are affecting those of your children?

For instance, ask yourself the questions;

  1. How often do you read?
  2. Where do you read?
  3. And in what format do you read?


The reason for this post and these specific questions is my own experience with reading and with watching my own child’s reading surpass what his school can deal with.

I read daily and I do it in front of my son. I read in electronic and paper format. I talk about the fact that I’m reading if I am using my kindle so that he knows that I am reading. When I started reading in bed more, he took to reading in bed beside me. I noticed the school books he was bringing home were too easy and he was reading them too quickly and way before either of us wanted our reading time to stop. So I took him to a book shop (Waterstones) and I bought him novels. Real books. The Percy Jackson series. He zoomed through them. He is now on another Rick Riordan series. Some of the books he is reading have over 500 pages in and are larger than the books I read. A recent comment in his reading card from school was “There are some really difficult words in this book, but they are not difficult for ****”

My little boy has also been tested and his reading level has reached the top-level that the school records (it goes to year 6) and he is in year 5. He still has 18 months to go.

This post isn’t to brag, but to show the power of reading in front of children. The old adage of leading by example is true even in the respect of reading.

So consider the above three questions again if you have children. It’s not necessarily about reading to them, but by showing them the joy that reading brings to your own life, you can encourage them to copy what you do and in that simple act, they can gain their own pleasure from reading.

This post is part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. 

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How Do You Help Readers Discover Your Books?

Are you an author or are you a writer hoping to publish at some point in the future? How do you help readers discover your book?

The figures of books released each year are just staggering, so if you are an author, how do you get noticed among the noise?

Do you use Goodreads? If the answer to that question is yes or no, this may be worth watching. If you answered yes, are you sure you know how it works for you? Goodreads is a social network that is solely used by readers. People who love books, who want to read books and who take the time to review books. It’s a place you want to take notice of.

Recently while browsing YouTube for book related content, I came across this video. It’s a 12 minute seminar by Goodreads Director of Community, Patrick Brown at the London Book Fair in 2013 in the author lounge. He is talking about how you can get your book in front of readers. It’s a bit dry, but it is definitely worth watching.

This post is part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. 

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Green Reader

Last year I did a post during the A to Z challenge titled Green Writer. It was about the pressure our planet is under environmentally and how writers, and writing, can and do impact on our environment and how we can lower any harm we do. I think this past year has shown that the issues our planet faces have not gone away.

There is a very complex system around our planet that keeps it ticking over. Atmosphere, clouds, and ice all effecting the albedo, which is the percentage of the sun reflected back into space, which sets our earth temperature. One of the many gases in the atmosphere which keep our planet warm is CO2, but as you know, we are now emitting an awful lot of CO2 and this in turn is effecting the albedo and creating the added warming effect which is what you hear being so often talked about.

Since writing that post a year ago, I have wanted to write a post from the opposite viewpoint, that of the reader.

This is that post.

Reading books has changed beyond recognition in the last seven years, with the evolution of the ereader.

As a writer, I know I like to read as much as I can. In fact my goal on Goodreads this year is to read 70 books as last year I managed to read 61 and I want to push myself further. But, bearing in mind last years post on being a Green Writer, I wanted to consider how I can be a Green Reader. My reading habit consists of reading my books on my ereader as well as going into bookshops and buying paper books. I like to do both and generally alternate between the two formats as I’m reading. Though with the ease of night-time shopping online my TBR pile of books on my ereader is much higher than my bookshelf, which isn’t so inconsiderable itself.

So, with that being said, we need to look at which is more environmentally friendly I suppose. Paper books or electronic devices?

Paper.

Many publishing houses have environmental policies on their websites and are signed up to the FSC – Forest Stewardship Council.

Why does this matter within books and publishing? Well, trees are cut down for the paper to create the books and this great video below explains it brilliantly, but is 8 minutes long. It is worth watching, but I know you may only be stopping by quickly on the A to Z, so maybe come back when you have chance?

So many books are being made from sustainable forests now and we know that forests use up our CO2 and emit O2. They’re important.

Ebooks.

Kindle are the grandfather of the ebooks and have apparently been quite shy in providing data in relation to environmental impact on the making of the electronic readers. Though it has been said (Cleantech) that reading 22.5 books on a Kindle (I’m using Kindle as it’s the most bought reader) offsets any environmental impact it has with its recharging and toxic waste. So as an avid book reader, I feel pretty safe in that respect.

Using an ereader also has the convenience of downloads, saving on transportation costs and not just distribution to sellers, but buyers, thereby reducing carbon emissions.

End of Life – Landfills.

A huge amount of paper ends up at landfill. Paper though biodegradable, produces methane as it decays. Methane is a Greenhouse gas.

EReaders will be dismantled and parts taken out for recycling, but beware on what the phrase recycling means.

What can you do as a reader?

Making a distinction between which is the most environmentally friendly way of reading, is not as simple as a person might imagine, so it goes on personal preference for now. But whatever your preference, there are things you can bear in mind.

  1. Look for books/publishers that use FSC sustained forests for their books.
  2. Books can be recycled before final end of life at the landfill. Pass a book to a friend, a charity shop, or your local library – Yes, they do take good condition books!
  3. Check your settings on your ereader and have it set up to save the battery. Mine is set for flight mode. It can’t access the internet to download the new books I’ve bought on my laptop or phone, until I turn it on for 5 minutes especially to do it.
  4. If you have an ereader, make use of it! Read lots, it’s easy to transport about. Take it places and make use of it. Make it so that you pass that environmentally friendlier mark.

This is a massive topic and I’ve tried to shrink it down. These are some of the sites I’ve used to help me research. I apologise, any errors I’ve made are my own.

Psychology Today, The Guardian Books, The FSC,

 

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Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury – Recently Read

The Recently Read posts are not typical book reviews. As a writer, I do not believe I should be reviewing the hard work of other writers. These posts are simply books I have recently read and enjoyed and will share with you. They will not always be crime books as I am trying to widen my reading selection. I hope you enjoy some of these with me.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451Guy Montag was a fireman whose job it was to start fires …

The system was simple. Everyone understood it. Books were for burning … along with the houses in which they were hidden.

Guy Montag enjoyed his job. He had been a fireman for ten years, and he had never questioned the pleasure of the midnight runs nor the joy of watching pages consumed by flames … never questioned anything until he met a seventeen-year-old girl who told him of a past when people were not afraid.

Then he met a professor who told him of a future in which people could think … and Guy Montag suddenly realized what he had to do!

My Thoughts;

This book is absolutely wonderful. I picked it up off the shelf as I wandered around my local Waterstones with my son. I’d heard about it and knew it was about a future where books were banned and burned. I loved the concept as I can’t imagine that world, so to read about it intrigued me.

At first, when I started reading I found it difficult as the prose was not written in a way I was used to. I couldn’t read it at the speed I could read other books. I had to slow down to understand the words, the world and the situation. It annoyed me, that such a small book should take me so long to read, but I soon adjusted to the world and the language of Montag and his thoughts. The strangeness of the world in which he inhabited. A world, that written over 60 years ago, is scarily close to a truth that could be seen reading this book. And that is what I love about it. The truths within the pages. If you read this book now as the world is turning digital, you will see a glimmer of what could be.

You will also see that those of us who love books will never die.

It’s a confusing and liberating time for Montag and a wonderful experience to read. I’m so glad that this book I read in paper format in my hands.

You can find me on Goodreads Here.

This post is part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. 

 

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First Week Round Up Of The A to Z Challenge Posts

Cake

Well, it’s been a hectic week. The first week of the April A to Z blogging challenge has come to a close. It’s time to take a step back and breathe, maybe get the kettle on and have a slice of cake or two. I think we deserve it!

Lets have a look back at what this week brought us;

 

 

A – A to Z Challenge – Go!

B – Brilliant Books – A Writers Inspiration or Nemesis?

C - Crime Book Club!

D – Disability – Learning How to Accept and Adjust 

E – Evernote – A Great Place To Store Your Research

And with tea and cake inside us, we are now ready for anything, so bring it on week two!

Posted in A to Z Challenge, Books, Crime Book Club, The Insecure Writers Support Group, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments