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Sunday, 13 March 2011

Books read, books written, and bus drivers

Been reading more than writing lately. I greatly enjoyed Isabel Ashdown's Glasshopper, and wrote a review on Amazon's site. I've just finished Diamonds and Pearls; this is a collection of short stories for a charity anthology, each by a different author. It's an enjoyable read; it turns out that most of the stories were previously published in magazines, especially Woman's Weekly, The Weekly News, and Take a Break Fiction Feast. I admit I was expecting a 'serious literary' read, but the book is a good chance for writers to immerse themselves in successful short fiction. Next read is Sue Moorcroft's Want to Know a Secret?

I was invited to review Tiger, Tiger by Margaux Fragoso, which is about to be published. It was made clear beforehand that this was an autobiography about long-term child abuse; however, I was not prepared for some of the details. There was also an issue, for me, with the clear description of the grooming and its fruition and continuation almost 'explaining' the abuser's rationale. At the same time the book is an important work which, hopefully, will help to alert families and teachers to some of the signs of abuse - all of which were missed by other adults responsible for Fragoso as a child. Phew!

The critique of my novel for children gave it a good going over. Some aspects were thought fine, but clearly a rewrite is needed. I'm quite okay with this, and agreed with the points which were made. Before I tackle the rewrite, I am again reading successful, published work for children in the relevant age range.

As a book giver, John and I had a good adventure on World Book Night. Writers' News has sort-of agreed to print my account in the Members' News section of the magazine. As a preview, it involves a stropulent bus driver, the crafty sneaking of books to people who wanted them, chatting to those on the streets in Winchester who weren't giving us a wide berth, and hanging around a pub with a group of somewhat drunken young people who wanted to help. We accidentally gate-crashed a wedding reception at the Guildhall, too.

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