The Guardian Review Book of Short Stories – Various Authors

Last month was The Guardian Book Season – A very exciting thing for bookworms all over Britain and beyond. It included a huge book swap, which book lovers across the UK got involved in, leaving their used books on park benches, at bus stops and in coffee shops. A @GdnBookSwap Twitter account was opened and photos of dropped and found books popped up everywhere.

Unfortunately I was not lucky enough to find a book, but I did leave a couple of my own lying around for others, wanting to spread the joy of reading. It is lovely to celebrate something as important as reading and to get people involved in sharing their favourite books. Hopefully it also encouraged people, who wouldn’t normally, to pick up a book and start to read. Continue reading

The Exorcist – William Peter Blatty

I don’t usually go out of my way to read something spooky for Halloween, but I needed an excuse to read The Exorcist, which I bought on a whim from a charity shop years ago. I hadn’t actually realised it was a book, having only heard of the film, banned for being shocking and obscene. And so I started reading, feeling a bit nervous and hoping that I would not be spending the next week having nightmares.

I was surprised to find that the book wasn’t actually all that scary. There were moments where I thought something terrifying was on the verge of happening, but then the tension petered out and I was left feeling a mixture of mild disappointment and extreme relief. This seemed to be a pattern in The Exorcist. There would be a slow lead up, with gradually more tension filling the pages, until the reader is on the edge of their chair and peering through fingertips. Then everything would stop, the child would fall asleep and it would be back to the beginning for the boring lead up to start all over again. Continue reading

Girl Meets Boy – Ali Smith

I have read three of Ali Smith’s books now and one thing that has always hit me, is that she captures the world of teenagers and young people exceptionally well. She portrays their hopes, dreams, innocence, uncertainties, frustrations and self doubts all at the same time, producing work which brings together jumbled emotions and wrapping them up, creates a non-patronising representation of what it is like to be young. Smith’s style is in complete harmony with the subjects that she writes about. It is fresh and often dreamlike, gracefully arranged, making the words flow across the page like poetry. Continue reading