On Writing – Stephen King

on-writingI find it hard to concentrate on anything resembling a textbook, but luckily Stephen King’s much praised memoir of the craft” is nothing of the sort.

The first section is titled “C.V.“, but is more of an autobiography, hitting a nice medium between personal anecdotes about his childhood and his early writing career. Through this section King explains why he writes and how he started. I got my pen out on page 55 and didn’t stop taking notes until the end of the book. The first gem was from his first editor at a local newspaper: “When you write a story, you’re telling yourself the story…. When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are not the story.Continue reading

Literary Cooking

A few months ago, I discovered The Little Library Café, a blog that combines two of my favourite things: books and food. The recipes are designed by bookworm Kate and inspired by food from literature. Her reading tastes are similar to mine and many of our childhood favourites overlap.

Kate’s blog is beautifully clean and has a simple layout. It’s user-friendly and organised into a book index, recipe index and gallery menu. The food looks mouthwatering and the instructions are easy to follow. But the best thing is that everything comes from the heart. Each post begins with a quote and introduction detailing Kate’s personal link to the book and recipe. I was eager to give some of them a try. Here are the results…

Illustration by the talented Lenka Zelená. For more, check out her Instagram account!

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The Luminaries – Eleanor Catton

the-luminariesSet during the gold-rush era in Hokitika, New Zealand, The Luminaries is an ambitious and incredibly detailed novel, inventively structured around astrological charts from that time.

The reader’s curiosity is piqued within the first few paragraphs. Twelve unlikely men are secretly gathered in the smoking room at the Crown Hotel, when in walks Walter Moody, fresh off the boat. Suffering from a terrible shock, he is unaware that he has stumbled upon a clandestine meeting. And so there are already two puzzles for the reader: what are the twelve men discussing? And what has shaken Walter Moody? Continue reading

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis

the-lion-the-witch-and-the-wardbrobeI recently wrote about my favourite winter reads. If I had written this list with children’s books in mind, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe would be right at the top.

Stepping through the wardrobe with Lucy for the first time was one of the most memorable reading moments of my childhood. It’s the sort of magical memory that lasts a lifetime and can easily be summoned up when eating particularly heavenly Turkish delight or walking along a snowy forest path in the twilight.

As a child, I felt I knew Narnia inside out, but reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as an adult, I now realise a lot of that must have been my own imagination. The writing style is simple and not overly descriptive. Lewis gives the reader a scene to work with and they conjure up the rest themselves. Continue reading

Ouky Douky Coffee – Prague

Ouky Douky Coffee is one of my new favourite places in Prague. So far I have only managed a couple of visits, but can’t wait to hang out there more. It’s a shabby (in a good way), reasonably priced café with a relaxed atmosphere and, best of all, a bookshop area!

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You have to venture off the beaten track to find Ouky Douky, which is located in the district of Holešovice. It’s an escape from the hoards of tourists you’ll find near Old Town Square, but still a vibrant area – you are likely to bump into locals, students and expats here. Continue reading

Hot Feminist – Polly Vernon

hot-feministThe title of this book was specifically chosen to cause a stir and is, in fact, what first caught my attention. I’ll be honest, my immediate reaction was to roll my eyes, but then I saw Polly Vernon at the ArchWay with Words Festival. The talk covered a lot of interesting issues and Vernon came across as very genuine. So, intrigued, I ended up purchasing a copy.

I wanted to love Hot Feminist and did enjoy reading it, but I wouldn’t recommend it to everybody. Vernon makes some good points and adds some humorous anecdotes, but nothing I haven’t heard before. The writing is  conversational, but too heavy on the capital letters and internet speech for my liking. Continue reading

Six Books to Curl Up with on a Winter’s Evening

We’ve had a dusting of snow here in Prague, which makes everything look very pretty. But it’s a reminder that winter is here to stay, at least for a while. Christmas is over, it’s cold outside and there’s a general feeling of deflation. The long wait for springtime starts now and it can be the most miserable time of year. However, there are some advantages, such as grabbing a blanket and a hot drink and curling up with a good book for hours on end (preferably by a crackling fire). So put on your woolly socks and take a look at some of my favourite winter reads…

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