August 2022 Reads

I’ve been loving reading books about writing lately. Not only did I finish three, I’m currently in the midst of another three! They all vary in their focus which is helpful; I am currently reading one about poetry, one about famous authors and their writing spaces, and one about Russian short stories (very specific, but very good!). The three that I finished this month are listed below.

This month, it has been a joy to prioritise reading in bigger ways. And it hasn’t felt like a chore at all, but a beautiful time of rest and inspiration. I read in my lunch break at work (half an hour) and before I go to bed (between twenty and forty minutes). I also read a chapter of a Christian book most mornings during my quiet time. As I said in a recent post, it seems that now I have more otime scheduled and full, I have been spending my free time doing the things that I actually want to do, and it hasn’t exhausted me but energised me.

So what did I read this month…?

All-American Girl Meg Cabot: I read this in high school, so when I saw it for $1 in a secondhand shop I couldn’t resist! About a high school girl who saves the president, and everything that follows. Something I still appreciate about it is the narration and sense of humour of the protagonist, Samantha. I also like the story line about her art class, and how she grows as an artist. 4 stars.

Julie by Catherine Marshall: From the author of Christy, and similar in how the story is told. Julie is a young woman who helps her father run the local newspaper in the town they move to at the start of the novel. While I did like the journalism side of this story, I wasn’t as invested in the characters or the romantic aspect. Something about it felt a little lacking to me – or maybe Christy was just so good, nothing compares! 4 stars.

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway: I’ve heard that this is a difficult Hemingway to read, and as my first I wasn’t sure how I’d go. Each chapter tells a different time of Hemingway writing in Paris, and what life was like for him back then. While there were some good moments I was interested in and it was fairly easy to read, I did get bored with some of his stories. Maybe I missed the point, but I would have preferred to hear more about his own writing than about horse racing. (I just don’t understand why he needed to give us a whole chapter about it!?) 3.5 stars.

The Novel Project by Graeme Simsion: From the author of The Rosie Project, this book details each step of the writing process. From getting an idea and expanding it, to writing down every beat of each act, this book covers it all. This is the kind of book where I won’t use every single step he has given. But if (probably when) I get stuck writing the novel I am now, I know I can reliably go to a chapter that details what he did at that stage. I am looking forward to implementing some of his ideas, and seeing how they go. It was also fascinating to see how he wrote his books, as he gives real examples of how his story and characters changed throughout the process, and what he kept or discarded. To see behind the scenes of a writer is one of the greatest things; it’s what made this book so accessible even though I wasn’t using it step by step. 4 stars.

Write it All Down by Cathy Rentzenbrink: This book was so enjoyable. It felt like I was having a cup of tea with a friend, who was just sharing her own personal experiences yet it was relatable and applicable. With short chapters about the writing process and the emotions that go with it, I would highly recommend this book for any writer. It is aimed at those writing a memoir, but I found the information all helpful in writing my own poetry and fiction. 5 stars.

Happy reading!

Sarah xx

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