What I Did at the Weekend

Good morning, all. Happy Monday (if that’s not an oxymoron).

This past weekend, my husband and I spent some time with his parents, which was wonderful.  It meant I didn’t get an opportunity to blog or Tweet or check Facebook or email… and it was probably just as well! It was great to have a chance to get some books and spend some time reading, which is basically what I did.  I also spent some time feeling tired and unwell – darned mumps!  It’s taking me quite a while to get over them, and no mistake.  But I digress!

I read ‘The Fault In Our Stars’, by John Green, which was wonderful, and, in the charismatic hero of the story, Augustus Waters, it featured one of the most memorable characters I’ve ever encountered.  Sharp-witted, intelligent, funny and irreverent in all the right places, I really enjoyed reading about him.

This is what the book looks like.  You might notice it’s not the best cover in the world:

I picked this book up because I’m familiar with John Green’s name, and I’m aware of him as a popular and talented writer for young people.  However (and my husband pointed this out, too) the cover would have done nothing to entice me to pick this book up if I hadn’t known all that beforehand.  It made me realise how hard it must be to design a book cover that is a) attractive, b) artistically satisfying (for the designer), c) clear and d) suggestive of what the book is about, without giving too much away about the plot.  This book is about teenagers who are struggling with a terminal illness, so I guess putting an image of their health issues, or whatever, on the cover would give too much away.  Don’t let the plain design put you off, though – the story within is really great, and Green is an excellent writer.  The dialogue in this book is sparkling and authentic, and there’s an interesting sub-plot involving a book that the two lead characters are obsessed with.  They go on a hunt for its reclusive author – no mean feat, when you consider the health issues they’re both dealing with – and overall the book is more funny than sad, despite the central theme.

Don’t breathe a word to my husband, but I also bought ‘The Emerald Atlas’ (John Stephens), ‘All These Things I’ve Done’ (Gabrielle Zevin), ‘Valentina’ (Kevin McDermott), and ‘Knife Edge’ (Malorie Blackman).  In my defence I got one of these free because there was a special offer on in the bookshop.  Not that I need to defend my right to buy books, of course – but just so you know.

I’ve started ‘Valentina’, so as soon as I’ve formulated some thoughts on that, I’ll let y’all know.  I don’t think these books (with the exception of ‘Knife Edge’, which I’ve wanted for a while) are the kinds of books I’d normally read, but I’ve made a decision to expand my reading world.  It can only have a beneficial effect on my writing world, too!  Despite being a big fan of one of the most exciting genres in the literary world – the Young Adult novel – I am only really familiar with a few niches in that genre and I tend to only read ‘within my comfort zone’, so it’s good to try something new once in a while.

I hope I’ll be well enough to carry on with my work today.  I am currently 75,000+ words into my novel, and it has been going well; I’m about to plunge my dear characters into a massive battle, though, so I’ve been resisting that in case one of them gets hurt.  I think a cup of coffee will help…

I hope you had a good weekend, too – and I hope it included some reading, and some writing!  And, of course, that you got out of your comfort zone, too.  Have a wonderful day.

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