The ‘To Read’ List (Updated 31st Jan 2017)


EDIT: Updated 31st January 2017 – The Collected Works of Edgar Allen Poe added, link to review of How to Look for a Lost Dog.

…As for the subject of this post; yes, it is the dreaded ‘To Read’ pile that, for those like me who enjoy a good book, seems to grow ever bigger due to the heavy demands and committments of our everyday lives. It became a bit of a problem for me last year, as I was constantly buying books from second-hand bookshops/charity shops, thinking ‘I’ll get to all these someday’, only to find I had so many building up in my room, still unread. It was at that point I literally sorted them into a ‘To Read’ pile, and began, you know, actually reading the blasted things, further vowing to not buy anymore until I had finished them. I’ll admit I make the occassional exception – if there is a new Margaret Atwood coming out I will either buy it or ask for it as a gift, for example – but I’ve generally managed to keep to this pretty well. So, in order to keep an actual list for myself, here are all of the books that have amassed in the pile, with links to their Goodreads pages (I will give my account on there some attention as I work through all of these as well!). Click to read on…

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Quick Book Review: How to Look for a Lost Dog

How to Look for a Lost Dog by Ann M. Martin

11-year-old Rose is autistic and struggles to understand her classmates. But when her father gives her a stray dog, which she names Rain, the dog becomes her best friend, her anchor in a confusing world. So when Rain goes missing during a storm, Rose refuses to stop looking for her…

So I actually acquired this book through my work – I’m a support worker for people with autism, and this was one of the books offered in a recent book sale the company held. I was intrigued by this one after reading the blurb above, and also partly because I had previously read and enjoyed The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Timealso told from the perspective of an autistic child. (which I also saw the fantastic stage show of last year) Comparisons are therefore perhaps going to be inevitable – particularly because both stories revolve around dogs! (thankfully the one in ‘Lost Dog’ is not brutally murdered like the poor creature in ‘Night Time!’), and both protagonists also have an obsession with prime numbers, but ‘Lost Dog’ stands as a perfectly good book on its own right. Martin writes the character of Rose very well, in that she is both a sympathetic character but at the same time you can understand the frustrations of the adult characters around her in dealing with her, particularly her father. It never quite has the emotional resonance of ‘Incident’, perhaps because it’s story is a fair bit smaller in scale, but still managed to tug at my heart-strings. You feel Rose’s pain when her dog goes missing, and -without giving anything away- the decision she has to make towards the end of the book is truly a heartbreaking one, from the perspective of the reader anyway – to Rose it is simply the logical thing to do, as it is following ‘the rules’. As with ‘Incident’, the book shows just what a confusing and scary place the world can be when this status quo is disrupted, and should be required reading for anybody to hope to understand autism. (like Christopher in ‘Incident’, Rose even follows ‘the rules’ of how a book should be written, making sure to mention these, but only because this has been the advice given to her by her teacher!)

Both an emotional and amusing read, I’d highly recommend this book to essentially anyone, but especially if they enjoyed ‘Incident’. Also, if you didn’t know (no) what a homonym is, I can promise you that you (ewe) will most definitely will by the time you’ve finished this book!

A 4/5 from me.

Check out my first poetry collection, ‘The Awakening’, available NOW for download as an eBook on Amazon. Check it out here:

Weds poetry prompt: ‘Let’s Take the Day Off’


Today’s prompt: Take the phrase “Let’s (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem.

Let’s Take the Day Off

Let’s draw a thick black line
Under this undesirable day
And map out another instead
Where there is only white space
Just waiting for our timid hands
To schedule in our own desires
As opposed to our supposed duties
That enslave us by the hour.

Let’s take the day off
And force our toiling feet
Off the long-beaten track
To see what adventures hide
Out of the corner of our weary eyes,
And we may still yet find
Our long lost original selves
Unchained from this cell of same old.

Like this poem? Read more in my first poetry collection, ‘The Awakening’, avaliable NOW!

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Is It Time to Quit Your Day Job and Go Pro

Gave me something to think about this morning…

Expat Journal: Postcards from the Edge

885756_830581123663491_378352687033749097_o Stephen F. Dennstedt

Are you a Creative? Do you write, do you paint, are you a dancer, an actor, a crafts person, or like me a photographer? Whatever your creative pursuit you probably have dreams or fantasies of doing it full-time. Some would call it going Pro (professional), where your hobby morphs into a full-time career. It’s a wonderful dream and a scary proposition (or at least it can be). I think it’s helpful to listen to others who have made the leap or the transition. It can be done, in fact it’s being done all the time, but it’s not all pie-in-sky. This short video by Matt Granger, professional photographer, gives you some great insights into the process. But it’s equally applicable to other Creatives (not just Photogs).

I think you can have it all in life, just not all at the same time. Life (at least in…

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‘To Plot Your Doom’ (Vowel limitation poem)


(A poem written from a prompt as part of 2015’s April PAD Challenge from Writer’s Digest- which was as follows:

‘Pick 2 vowels and write a poem using words that only contain one or both of those vowels’.

Now this was an extremely tricky one. I opted to only use ‘O’ and ‘U’ and, well…I’ll leave you to be the judge of how well it worked 😉

To Plot Your Doom

How could you not know
Who plots your doom?
You look upon frowns
From your phony chums
Who murmur on you
For dusky hour on hour
Round your slothful turn
To plot your utmost drop.


Does anybody else dabble in constrained writing/poetry? Would be interesting to see other’s attempts 🙂

Like this poem? Read more in my first poetry collection, ‘The Awakening’, avaliable NOW!

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‘A Swing for All Seasons’


(A poem written from a prompt as part of 2015’s April PAD Challenge from Writer’s Digest – the prompt being to write a ‘swing’ poem)

To quote from the page:

Sure, there are park swings and mood swings; there’s swing music and swing dancing; and there are swingers. Some people swing one way; others swing another. In politics, there are swing votes and swing states. And many people have swung a bat, an ax, and/or a hammer in their lifetimes.

So this was what I came up with:

A Swing for All Seasons

I swing the other way, I always say
But who said we were swinging?
We’d wear our creaky libidos out.
As for those who swing both ways,
They must drive themselves dizzy
Swaying from one desire to another.

Some can’t stay on one swing too long,
The movements become mundane,
That same old seat now too familiar,
So they stray to another playground,
Try some other rides, for a new thrill,
And pounce on a shiny new plaything.

But such sessions are not always secret
Some proudly tell their present playmate
About their brand spanking new toy
And ask if they’d like to play along too.
But of course they’ll say, why not,
Monogamy is so last decade anyway.

And so we swing from one to the next,
Until we’ve had our quite literal fill.
Who on earth would want to settle
And stay on the comfortable chair?
We can’t rest until we’ve sampled
Every arm and leg there is out there.

Like this poem? Read more in my first poetry collection, ‘The Awakening’, avaliable NOW!

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Weds poetry prompt: ‘Catching the Sunset’

Yes, this is my header image, which is actually a painting I did of the beach at Hunstanton, where I spent many a happy childhood holiday 🙂

Today’s prompt: Write a ‘nothing better’ poem.

(My mind evidently drifted to memories of childhood holidays! Hope you enjoy my little trip down memory lane…)

Catching the Sunset

In those times far simpler
When my years did not yet exceed
The innocence of single digits,
There was no greater pleasure
Than the annual family adventure
To the land of sun, sand and sea.

We’d scamper the entire length
Of a pebble-laden paradise
As those grand cliffs watched over
And left their chalky debris below,
Stopping at sporadic intervals
To investigate each and every rock pool.

Then would come the rite of passage
Into the inviting blue of the sea,
A path most chilling at first,
But soon the water became one
With our tiny, trembling bodies
Beckoning us to explore its mysteries.

And so we’d spend each magical day,
Until the sun began its majestic slumber,
Painting the sky orange and purple
With sodden sand as an unlikely mirror,
There was rarely a sight seen better
In our wide and unassuming eyes.

And yet as I close them now
Supposedly older and wiser
I can still see this precious sunset of childhood.

Like this poem? Read more in my first poetry collection, ‘The Awakening’, avaliable NOW!

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