The Art of Summer Reading….

There is something a bit special about reading a book in the summer time don’t you think? Don’t get me wrong, there is something special about reading a book in winter too, that will be a post later in the year. Summer reading though, requires a lot more thought and organisation of the reading arena. Especially if you are on holiday! This is my tongue firmly in cheek look at some of those non essential items needed(?) for stress free reading.

For me, there absolutely has to be sunshine. If it starts with rain, then I’m off. Sunshine, can however, prove pretty disruptive. There are sunglasses and sun cream, not to mention things that buzz and sting, oh, and sand… plenty of sand or, depending where you are, mud….. plenty of mud. So, before we all head for: the beach, the countryside, the city, the pool, the lake, the cruise, the campsite (delete as appropriate), I have come up with a few nifty items that may/may not, make your reading moments, a five star experience. I want my summer reading, to be like an all inclusive summer resort; everything at my fingertips without too much thinking. Right then so off we go:

  • For every ‘new’ book you take, throw in a ‘re read’ of a favourite. This is something I did recently, and was glad I did. Now we have e readers it makes it lighter on the luggage allowance too. I had taken along a book by a new author, but, within 30 pages, I was loosing the will to live. Not really what you want on holiday. Thankfully I was able to flip back to my comfort zone with one of my all time faves ~ ‘Love in The Time of Cholera‘ by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It had the immediate effect of lifting my mood and creating that all important ‘feel good factor.’
  • Always take a resealable bag or a colourful yard of silk… it’s up to you. The yard of silk will make your book/e reader look and feel immense, and that dear friends, is the size of it. It could, in theory, double up as a sarong. It could, also be a rather interesting talking point. Holiday makers may try in vain to figure out, why you felt it necessary to wrap up your book.The resealable bag, on the other hand, has no style, but lots of practicality. The bag needs to be able to comfortably fit your e reader or paperback. Please don’t tell me you take hardbacks with you? Really? Although, I have to fess up. When Donna Tart’s ‘The Goldfinch‘ came out in hardback, I did schlep it everywhere, even when visiting the rellies…but, I hasten to add, that was a ‘Winter read’, which is altogether a different beast! A resealable bag can work wonders. It can protect from the most savage of onslaughts.
  • It can:
    • Protect against sand
    • Guard against spillage
    • Store stuff other than your book
  • A small reading light. You know the ones, they perch onto the top of your paperback and shine an arc of light! Very handy in most holiday situations. Obvs. if you have an e reader you wont need one, unless you have found another use for it….
  • At least 2 bookmarks.I like to make special holiday bookmarks, crocheted in bright colours! Do I? No I don’t… but I do like the idea… emm…
  • A mirror that can attach to the top of said e reader/paperback. Because, let’s face it, there are always times when we want to know what’s going on behind us!
  • Get yourself an Itsa beach bag/towel. Is it a bag, is it a towel? Who knows, but it does have pockets! Check it out here

OK so that’s me done. Tomorrow I will promise to be a little more serious ( but only a little..) and let you in on my top summer reads for 2016. For now I shall leave you with some lovely holiday snaps to get us in the mood….

 

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Back Camera

Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner?

Who would you invite to dinner?

An easy enough question right? Until you factor in it can be anyone, living or dead, real or fictitious. Where would you even start?

It took a lot of staring out of windows and going off on tangents. I went off on so many tangents that I even looked up the phrase ‘going off on tangents’. Here’s what it said ‘ In geometry a tangent is a straight line that touches a circle or sphere at exactly one point and then runs infinitely away from that point in both directions’. Yep that’s what I did! I became a tangent runner. It was a great exercise for my imagination and I would heartily recommend asking yourself the same question. You can find out who I eventually invited  over at author Diane Burton’s blog  I discuss who I would love to dine with and why.

I’d be interested to know who you would choose and why?

Perfectly Flawed?

Showing character flaws helps to make a book believable. Too many flaws and you risk making your character unbelievable, too few, and readers won’t be able to connect or identify with them. I’m sure we can all think of someone we have known who comes across as just ‘too perfect’ – did you like them? I know I most certainly did not. There is no such thing as perfect. Characters have to be believable, warts and all! As in life, if your character is not believable (ie. too perfect), then you are already on the back foot with not too many places to go. Enter stage right…. flaws. Flaws within your characters give readers an opportunity to connect, to understand who your character really is. They allow readers to develop a picture of who he/she is. It is those unique flaws and traits that will breathe life into the bones of your story. Finding the balance is the challenge. In this post I want to share what has worked for me when exploring flaws within my characters. These are not ‘you must’ but just my ‘ might be helpful for you’ thoughts and ramblings: Continue reading “Perfectly Flawed?”