Jul 2008

Let's face it. There are loads of how-to-write-a-novel books out there. Some are full of lots of technical gumph and you feel disheartened just reading them. Others are light and fluffy and you wonder how anyone could write a postcard using their advice. This book falls somewhere in between, having the positive aspects of both alternatives.

Louise Doughty is a published author who wrote a regular newspaper column for the London Daily Telegraph that took her readers...

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Oct 2009

The line of publications on the subject of Gallipoli grows ever longer, but occasionally something fresh turns up. This book, where all the action occurs in a five-day period, reads more like a fast-paced fictional thriller than an historical account. The author has achieved this in three ways: he delivers a contiguous, multi-layered narrative by sewing together every available detail (Turkish as well as Allied); the use of diaries, reports and letters allow him to ‘get...

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Mar 2011

It was an easy task to devour this book quickly. The prose is light, but the effects are crafted with a deft hand.

Most of the stories deal with the lives of women, although two are from the perspective of young males with voices that are equally authentic. The stories traverse the intimate territories of grief, rejection, religious feeling, guilt and the struggle to understand one’s self. In exploring these emotional landscapes, Swann often dips in and out of the...

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May 2011

Here is the ultimate guide for how (and how not) to approach agents and prospective publishers about your work. It may even save you from wasted effort and unnecessary rejections. You only get one shot with each one, after all.

I can imagine the proposal for this book now: ‘Estimated writers societies and groups x estimated membership…assume 15% purchase…guaranteed market of…’

Sound too technical for you? Well this book is full of harsh realities. Publishing is a...

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Jun 2011

According to the author, Byron ‘is our shadow. Our own dark secrets.’ Jameson certainly has plenty of her own dark secrets to share and she sorts through them as her pilgrimage progresses. The events of Byron’s short and dramatic life serve two purposes in this narrative: they provide the travel itinerary and points of physical interest, but they also serve to introduce topical themes by chapter that the author parallels with her own life experience. Jameson explores...

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Jun 2011

It would be an incomplete picture to review George Friedman’s The Next Decade without referring to its predecessor The Next 100 Years. For those who assume that the forecasts for the next decade are a mere subset or pilfering from the more extended work, they would be mistaken. Friedman puts it this way: ‘A century is about events. A decade is about people.’

Friedman deals with the science of geopolitics. Broadly, this involves the changing relationships between nation...

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Aug 2011

If I had to describe this book in a metaphorical way, I’d say it was a pleasant amble through antique and curio shops with pauses in between for trying out vigorous yoga positions.

Have you ever glanced below the ‘normal’ crossword you’re filling in to wonder what those mad clues could possibly mean? I couldn’t understand how people got into them. How does one learn? What are the rules? This book is your solution. Not only does Astle take you clue type by clue type (he...

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© 2012 Alicia Thompson
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