As a general rule, I like to begin reviews with a brief summary of the story but to be honest, I’ve been sat here for a few moments now and I’m not quite sure where to start with this fast-paced and rather twisted plot. Simon Debovar, a typical rich hermit, awakes one day to hear his broken doorbell ringing and behind that door is a demon and an angel. They’ve come to retrieve his carpet, of course, and settle a bet. When Simon is asked to choose to whom he wants to give the carpet (that’s actually an ancient and intricate yet remarkably well-maintained rug), he is thrown into a wild adventure.
This month’s reader interview was with Svein Klunderud, who I met through the Facebook group The Cwts @ Reading Addicts (they have a great website, by the way – well worth a nosey if you like books). He agreed to answer some of my questions about his reading habits. Enjoy!
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a 37 year old from Bergen Norway. My interests beside books are movies, tv-series, and my dog and two cats. I also enjoy long walks in the mountains around Bergen.
Do you ever get those times when it seems like you want to do more than you ever
possibly could? I look at how many books there are in the world – those ones that I really want to read and those that I have never even heard of but that I will undoubtedly want to read – and my head spins with the enormity of it! I even get a tiny flip of panic in my stomach. I’ll never get through all those before I die, and then I’ll have failed. Of course I’ll never get through them all – even if I was immortal, I’d never be able to keep up with the pace at which great new books are released. And of course, that doesn’t mean I’ve failed – it means I’m human. Still, it’s a bit overwhelming, isn’t it?
“I will stamp on you, you mark my words,” I heard Queen Queenie screech to Robot One just outside the door to my work station. I cowered silently whilst continuing to straighten the toilet paper, praying that all this wouldn’t come to ructions. I just want to get on with my work and get home to my family.
This is Marmite at its best – love it or hate it, it’s unlikely to leave you undecided.
At its most straightforward, it is a simplistically written tale of a nameless Spanish shepherd who sells his flock and travels to Egypt to find treasure. It is easy to see how the basic narrative and seemingly banal plot could be irksome to folks. It’s unrealistic, perhaps a little petty and materialistic and it is true that, as some GR reviewers point out, Coelho’s portrayal of women perhaps leaves a little to be desired. You can hate it for this if you want but, like most philosophical novels, I cannot believe it was intended to be read like that.
Tanya Jones is a busy little bee. According to her website, she is the Publisher of the Gateway Gazette digital media, a freelance writer, a YA fantasy author, and winner of the Royal Canadian Legion Media Award; and from what I know of her, she’s highly active on Facebook and Twitter too – always talking to fans and offering help to other authors. Her debut novel, Dreams of Beautiful Whisper, was released earlier this year and is available in paperback and e-book. The book has received some great reviews (mine included), and it’s the first in The Elves of Eytherfel series. The second book, Whisper’s Beautiful Song, is expected to be released early 2016 – and I for one am excited!
I awoke this morning to the news that Jackie Collins has died at the age of 77, after a six-and-a-half year battle with breast cancer. At the risk of doing the same as everyone else, I felt that this amazing woman deserved a little attention here on Authordom – not to mourn her death so much as to celebrate the amazing life she lived.
Friday feels…an awful lot like Sunday. That’s probably got something to do with the fact that it is Sunday. I’ve completely lost track of the days this week – as though I’ve been abducted by aliens or, more likely, there is a small hole in my skull and my brain has slipped through, like jelly being poured through a funnel. Thlwop it goes, onto the floor.
This week’s short story is dedicated to Serena Cairns, who sent me a prompt on Twitter: “Rainwitch, rainwitch, fetch me the magic gooseberry”.
It’s play time. The children dart around the sloped concrete playground, on which is painted the bright but worn lines of various sports pitches used for PE, layered over one another as though jostling for space. They run and scream and play and giggle, the children. Little girls in little grey pinafores and little boys in little grey shorts and shirts, all running and chasing and being magical things. The atmosphere is loud and manic but happy too. That child over there is a dinosaur, that one is a dog. Those over there are playing catch whilst these by here smash conkers. It’s not those children who draw our eye, though. They are being children, doing whatever it is that children do.
The Pocket Wife by Susan Crawford is a psychological thriller with an unreliable narrator – in much the same vein as other, more famous releases this year (The Girl on the Train coming instantly to mind, although it seems unfair to compare the two). Dana, the eponymous ‘pocket wife’ (a term explained in the book, and I shan’t ruin that here), wakes up one afternoon after a drunken row with her friend and neighbour, Celia. She soon discovers that Celia had been murdered that afternoon but Dana’s memory is sketchy at best. To make things worse, Dana is suffering from a mental breakdown and goes manic. The book flips between Dana’s madness and her drive to discover whether she is a murderer and Detective Moss’ investigation into Celia’s death – and there are a lot of suspects!
Friday feels…balanced. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday didn’t mind you. There’s a tale to tell there.
Confidence and Paranoia have been fighting like cat and dog this week. I’m not entirely sure what made them come out with such full force but they did and it’s taken me nearly four days to put them straight (and into strait jackets). Paranoia has been up to his old tricks, and with renewed vigour too it seems. “You suck,” he says. “You’re pathetic and stupid and you should just sit in the corner and rot like a vegetable,” he whines and all the while, Confidence finds new and inventive ways to torture him. Plucking out his nose hairs and stuffing his ears with wriggly worms – that sort of thing.
Being always (and perhaps unfairly) wary of TV book club recommendations, I approached this novel with a certain amount of trepidation. However, within the first few lines, I was proved completely wrong. The story is of a 42 year old man, still living with his mother. Considered a ‘freak’ and a ‘queer’ in reality, B.B immerses himself into the world of online blogging, where he feels welcome – wanted even, and through which he reveals his life and his somewhat murky ties with the other members of the website. The novel is a dark but fascinating thriller, full of murder and intrigue and enough twists and twirls to keep you turning pages the whole night through.
This week’s short story comes from a prompt I was given on Twitter by Benedict Martin: “Why is it every time I buy ground beef, it goes bad?” A tough prompt this week! Let me know if I’ve lived up to the challenge.
Jack plonked a bag of shopping onto the kitchen counter as his wife struggled behind him. She was carrying six overloaded bags to his single measly one.
Your one-stop shop for the week’s most interesting bookish news and reviews
If there is anything that sends a book lover into a frenzy, it’s a bad film adaptation of their favourite book. Of course film-makers can’t keep every scene from the book because the film would just be too long. And of course, a little altering of details here and there are acceptable, but what really frustrates readers is when adaptations are nothing like the book. The Reading Room this week published a list of ten books that are nothing like their film adaptations and it makes for interesting reading (warning: there are some spoilers in this article!). The one that’s always frustrated me (although it’s not on the list, and it’s not a film) is the TV adaptation of Stephen King’s Under the Dome – the characters are so completely different! I can’t help but wonder, too, what the author of the book must feel when they see their stories are so twisted up and changed – are they happy for that to happen? What do you think are the best and worst book to film or TV adaptation?
Friday feels…organised. Writing a guest post for Become the Monster this week really got me thinking about setting (and exceeding) goals (since, you know, that’s what the post was about). I realised that for me, it’s not just about setting myself a target and then working towards it. Achieving the things that I want to achieve simply won’t happen if I’m not organised (especially with my hectic schedule) and that, for me, is the ultimate goal: being organised! If I’m organised, I can do anything. Yep, I’m one of those geeks who adhere to the “fail to prepare: prepare to fail” philosophy and I adhere to it because it’s true!
Today’s short story prompt comes from Nathan Elward. He suggested “we hide behind the sofa when we watch a scary movie, what if there was a monster behind the sofa?”
The Monster behind the Sofa
“Okay, okay! I’ve got one,” Rhys said. They were sat around the biggest table at the Royal Oak Hotel, steadily becoming merrier and of course, talking a lot of nonsense. “What if, right, you lot aren’t real but are figments of my imagination? Ey?” He raised his eyebrows and grinned knowingly, as though he’d won the day. His mates groaned.
Today, we’ve got a guest post from Nathan at Become the Monster: a self-help website based around goal setting, motivation, and becoming the person you want to become (be it a monster or not!) It’s a great website that’s worth checking out! He kindly agreed to write a post about goal setting and whilst he talks directly about setting goals as a writer, the principles can apply to anything.