The Opposite of Loneliness – Marina Keegan

‘We‘re so young. We’re so youngWe’re twenty-two years old. We have so much time.’ 

Marina Keegan was an a ambitious graduate, ready for life’s challenges and full of hope for the future. Just a few days after publishing her final piece in the Yale Daily News, she tragically died in a car accident. This book is a collection of her work put together posthumously by friends and family, and includes her final essay The Opposite of Loneliness.

The writing is emotive and will awaken long-forgotten aspirations in readers of any age. With strong messages such as ‘…we can still do anything. We can change our minds. We can start over…’, Marina makes you want to get up and achieve something. Continue reading

Tell Me A Tale – Various Authors

tell_me_a_tale

Last year I helped Fluster Magazine organise a short story competition. Twenty winning stories were chosen to be published in an anthology by Armida Publications. For about two months, I watched whilst stories upon stories sped into my inbox, and spent countless sunny afternoons reading through them all. Judging the entries was a lot harder than I had anticipated. To me, there were a few very clear winners, but there were many stories that I simply could not choose between!

Helping with the Tell Us A Tale competition was such a privilege and seeing the finished anthology made me swell with pride. All of the hard work and almost impossible choices were worth it in the end!  Continue reading

Kissing the Witch – Emma Donoghue

Kissing the Witch

This review at Iris on Books caught my eye a few months ago and the book was added to my wish list straight away.

I read Kissing the Witch in two sittings because, although it’s a collection of short stories, I found it hard to put down. Reading this chain of stories is like opening a Russian doll. The further in you get, the more surprises you find. Each tale is connected to the one before, with the secondary character from the first telling her own story, and then passing on the pen to the next woman. The readers are kept interested because they want to learn more about the character and understand why they have become a witch, a fairy Godmother or how they came to live a secluded life in a cave. Continue reading

Fragile Things – Neil Gaiman

I’ve been hearing a lot about Neil Gaiman recently but haven’t been sure whether he writes the sort of thing that I would enjoy. This review of his book of ‘short fictions and wonders’ at Books Without Any Pictures had me wanting to know more and so I thought I would take the plunge and buy a copy. This is the first book that I have read for the Pay It Sideways Challenge.

The weird world of Neil Gaiman is not necessarily wonderful. It can be strange, creepy and amusing, but I can’t say that I found Fragile Things to be a wonderfully enjoyable read. The style is dark, whether the story is humorous and light hearted or more serious. I do like the idea of dark and magical stories, but couldn’t really settle down with this book.

There were two short stories I was particularly looking forward to reading, which both turned out to be completely different to how I had imagined them. Continue reading

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