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The things I'll do for doughnuts ...

Specifically, it transpires that I will happily spend my Saturday trying on bridesmaid's dresses not only to show support for my friend, uC as she plans her wedding, but also in return for a Gregg's doughnut.

I can't decide if this makes me cheap or adorable*.

Anyway, I think I tried on 6 or 7 dresses in the end together with A and the good news is that we seem to be veering towards a colour and a style. I also learnt what "rouching" is and why it is a technique that should be loved and cherished by all of those who, like me, have doughnut belly.

There are photographs, which uC assures me will not see the light of day. This is a good thing as some of the dresses did require self-support. I shall leave that to your imaginations.

It's been a highly busy week and stressful all around. On Tuesday I met up with former flatmates J and C and university friend M who was over in London from the Czech Republic. We ended up having dim sum at Ping Pong and catching up on everything that's happened over the last few years and for the first time ever, I found myself feeling almost grateful for the shittiness that was 2008 because it gave me something to talk about in terms of drama, while 2009 offered more in the way of yayness.

Work has been incredibly busy all week and coupled with that, I've been taking a look at some legal things for my parents, which has taken a lot of time to sort out. As a result, I decided to take a week off from writing which was undoubtedly a good thing because I'd been feeling rather down about the manuscript, was tying myself in knots over how a chapter rewrite is going and had generally reached the point where I was convinced that everything I wrote was crap.

The break's helped to give me some perspective, so I'll be getting back into the swing of things tomorrow by dropping in on the Monkeys at the RFH and Joshua Ferris is giving a lecture at City University on Tuesday evening, which I'm also planning to go to. To top this off, I've booked 3 days off work to try and crack through the final rewrites in the hope of having something finished now by the beginning of March.

I omitted to mention in my last entry that I went to see The Wolfman last week. I suspect this was because my brain was still trying to obliterate the pointlessness of the movie and the stupidity of the plot. I ended up losing count of the number of times I thought "but that makes no sense!", but I do know that it started with "why is Benecio Del Toro playing a 19th century English gentleman with an American accent?" and went downhill rapidly. I know a few people who've seen it and say that the special effects made up for the daft plot but you know, I'd have liked the transformation scenes a hell of a lot more had I not seen them in An American Werewolf In London many, many years ago.

The purpose of saying this is to segue nicely into some book recommendations (one of the books listed below involves werewolves). I keep a separate review LJ at quippe where I set down my thoughts of every book that I read (and am a little behind on my reviews) and figured that in the interests of spreading the reading love I should set out the titles and authors of those books that I've read this year that I'd recommend taking a look at. Accordingly, I offer you:

Young Adult Fiction (Aged 12+)

- Stolen by Lucy Christopher - tense novel about a teenage girl kidnapped from an airport and transported into the middle of the Australian Outback.

- Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher - emotional story about a teenage boy coming to terms with the suicide of a classmate who's left audio tapes describing what led to her decision.

- Graceling by Kristin Cashore - bit of a cheat to include this twice as it's YA in the USA but 'grown up' in the UK. Even so, it's a fast-paced high fantasy about a teenage girl who is cursed with the ability to kill.

- Meteorite Strike by A. G. Taylor++ - opening book in a series about teenagers and children who discover supernatural abilities following the impact of a meteorite on the Earth.

- Changeling: Blood Wolf by Steve Feasey++ - latest in a series following a teenage boy who discovers he's the last hereditary werewolf, in which he goes in search of his only living relative.

- The Crowfield Curse by Pat Walsh - historical fantasy set in the 14th century about a young orphan boy who rescues a fairy and ends up embroiled in a mystery involving angels and fairy magic.

Fiction For Grown-Ups:

- Triumff: Her Majesty’s Hero by Dan Abnett - fantasy set in an alternate 2010 when Queen Elizabeth XXX is on the throne and the age of Gloriana never ended. Think Blackadder II meets Terry Pratchett and throw in some mis-firing gadgets.

- Sixty-One Nails by Mike Shevdon - urban fantasy set in London in which a man has a near death experience that reveals his faerie heritage and plunges him into a world of conspiracies and danger.

- Legend by David Gemmell - classic epic fantasy about the defenders of a fortress - think 300.

- Graceling by Kristin Cashore - bit of a cheat to include this twice as it's YA in the USA but 'grown up' in the UK. Even so, it's a fast-paced high fantasy about a teenage girl who is cursed with the ability to kill.

- Death Message by Mark Billingham - crime series following DI Tom Thorne who's facing a serial killer with nothing to lose.

- Smiley’s People by John Le Carré - classic spy thriller that's a masterclass in intricate plotting.

- Alone In Berlin by Hans Fallada - 'rediscovered' classic from the 1940s, this is a novel set in Berlin in 1940 and charts an elderly couple's resistance to the Nazi regime following the death of their son.

- Servant of the Underworld by Aliette de Bodard - fantasy set in Aztec history with plenty of magic and mystery.

Most of my reading this year has been fantasy and YA (not surprising given what I want to write) but I do like to at least try and read widely, not least because you learn a lot from going outside your reading comfort zone.

Right, I have a few things that I need to do before turning in for an early night and the start of another week at the grindstone.

* Please note that this is a rhetorical statement to which responses are not solicited. ;)

++ In the interests of disclosure, I share an angent with these authors but if I didn't like the books, then I wouldn't recommend them.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 21st, 2010 06:39 pm (UTC)
Your tolerance and patience is greatly appreciated, I assure you! And the 'self support' shot has raised a grin from all who've seen it...

And 61 Nails was a mostly excellent story. :nods:
Feb. 21st, 2010 08:26 pm (UTC)
Bit of both probably ;)
Feb. 21st, 2010 09:33 pm (UTC)
Good luck with the writing, hope inspiration strikes for the final loose ends.
Feb. 25th, 2010 11:27 am (UTC)
Sympathise on the writing woes, and sure a week off to recharge will be just the ticket. Hope MM was fun...
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


Caroline Hooton

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