The ‘To Read’ List (Updated 6th June 2017)

toreadpile

EDIT: Updated 6th June 2017 –  Pompeii recently completed, review to follow. Link to review for Switch Bitch added. Misery and The Green Mile added to the list.

…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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Weds poetry prompt: ‘Silent Souls’

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This week’s prompt: Write a ‘snap judgement’ poem

Silent Souls

Delicate and sensitive souls
Crack easily under life’s demands,
After burying them into the pile
Of things to be tolerated and/or ignored,
So that a strain so long suppressed
Must inevitably break and snap
Into the form of frantic outburst
And barely considered decision,
But these jumped-to judgements
Reveal the concealed wishes
Of limp and weak-willed men
That would otherwise remain hidden
In the harsh mists of silence
Never to be seen again.

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

Paperback – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Awakening-Selection-Poems-Stuart-Peacock/dp/1911476335

eBook-: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B017BZBH6M

Quick Book Reviews: ‘Switch Bitch’

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Switch Bitch (Roald Dahl)

Simply put, this is a collection of short stories about sex. But this isn’t as cheap and tawdry as you might imagine; the stories are all wonderfully inventive and each with delightful twists at the end. Indeed, you’d expect nothing less from Mr. Dahl. This was something of a bizarre read for me as well, as I’d only ever read his works intended for children (although they could get dark and twisted in places as well), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory being a particular favourite of mine growing up. So reading one of his more adult-oriented works was certainly an experience for sure. What he does especially well in this collection is effortlessly make parts of the stories emotionally crushing yet hilarious at the same time, which is no mean feat.

Two of the stories, ‘The Visitor’ and ‘Bitch’ are told from the perspective of ‘Uncle Oswald’, presented as a notorious womaniser whose memoirs have been discovered by his family. ‘Visitor’ is particularly brilliant as, not to give anything away, a dream-come-true (for him) scenario of sleeping with another man’s wife and daughter becomes a nightmare, when he is cruelly, yet justly punished for his intended transgression at the end. My first reaction was ‘Oh….shit’ but quickly turned to hysterical laughter. ‘Bitch’ meanwhile is perhaps a little silliler and ‘out there’, the ending in particular, but it captures the sheer primality of our carnal desires very well. The character in general, despite his attitude towards women (he has a strict ‘one time only’ policy’, which he repeatedly stresses), and complete lack of morals, is one you just can’t truly hate, and his (mis)adventures are truly a joy to read.

‘The Great Switcheroo’ meanwhile, involves two husbands crafting a master plan to sleep with each other’s wives, without the wives actually knowing that it isn’t their husband in the act with them. If this sounds completely implausible, suspend your disbelief – the plan and how it is carried out is actually quite ingenious, and fully explained step-by-step, again emphasising the lengths we will go to for sex. Again, not to spoil things too much, but while the plan technically does work, it has devastating consequences for one of the husbands in question, but again, this is written in such a way that is darkly humorous.

‘The Last Act’, meanwhile, is probably the most brutal of the four – there is little comedy in this one, given that it deals with a woman contemplating suicide following the tragic passing of her husband. While this ends up being delayed when she lands herself a job, an encounter with an old flame quickly sends her falling into the abyss again, and I personally had to put the book down and process what I had just read after the ending, which really does show how cruel and callous humanity can be, at its worst. It pulls no punches, this one, and is a very raw and emotional read. Probably just as well, then, that the more light-hearted ‘Bitch’ is the story to close the collection.

Overall, I really enjoyed this collection, and read it all more or less in one sitting – I was certainly hooked in. Would highly recommend it, and therefore will award it a 5/5!

Check out my first poetry collection, ‘The Awakening’, avaliable NOW!

Paperback – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Awakening-Selection-Poems-Stuart-Peacock/dp/1911476335

eBook-: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B017BZBH6M

Weds poetry prompt: ‘Panic’s Puppet’

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This week’s prompt: Write a ‘repair’ poem.

Panic’s Puppet

I’m all too quick to panic,
Easily shaken and rattled
By diving into needless battles,
Yes, I’m not always very selective
About where my stress is directed,
Expecting a swift resolution
After an impromptu mental explosion,
And broken pieces to magically reform
Following each inevitable storm
Of clouds which cannot be changed
Nor controlled, yet still I attempt to.
It is only after the eventual calm
That I can stand back and repair
The further damage I have done,
And find the correct answer.
If only the mind made its move first,
Before the heart hastily runs in
Then I might just spare myself
From this misguided torture
And recover the rational me for good.

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

Paperback – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Awakening-Selection-Poems-Stuart-Peacock/dp/1911476335

eBook-: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B017BZBH6M

Weds poetry prompt: ‘Diamonds of Intent’

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This week’s prompt: Write a ‘pieces’ poem.

Diamonds of Intent

The ambitions and big ideas
That chatter away in my head
Are quickly and ruthlessly broken
Into petty, incomprehensible shards
When cast out into reality,
Merely becoming minute pieces
Of a fabled master plan
That I am unable to assemble
Or indeed, even recall the path to,
As these evanescent half-concepts
Are inevitably carried away
Up to the vast, confusing sky
Before becoming lost in the clouds
Never to be seen again,
Their fragile and fleeting nature
Ultimately meaning it is futile
To attempt that final cohesion
Until the mind seeks and finds
Those rare diamond intentions
That the world cannot so easily shatter.

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

Paperback – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Awakening-Selection-Poems-Stuart-Peacock/dp/1911476335

eBook-: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B017BZBH6M

‘Letter from a Dragon’

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So this is just a little piece that came about after I went to the ‘Essex Author’s Day’ back in March, that was part of the Essex Book Festival going on that month – one of the workshops that I attended, entitled ‘Develop Your Writing’, was headed by a Literature professor at my old university (I graduated in 2008 with my English Lit degree – nearly 10 years ago!!), and the aim was to provide us with several prompts and ideas to write something themed around dragons – and we heard some examples from students as well. I didn’t follow any of the given prompts specifically, per say, but while there on the day I was suddenly inspired to write about a somewhat grumpy dragon setting the record straight to humankind about what dragons were really like. I carried on with it and polished it up a little once I returned home, and then just kind of left it sitting for a while, until I was suddenly inspired to unearth it and finish it properly today. And here it is…I am going to try and get in the habit of posting bits of writing that aren’t just the weekly poetry prompts (or the monthly challenges), so I hope you enjoy this one. It may become something more in the future, perhaps a short story of some kind? Watch this space, anyway…

Letter from a Dragon

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The ‘To Read’ List (Updated 8th May 2017)

toreadpile

EDIT: Updated 8th May 2017 – Ah – been a while since I’ve updated this, hasn’t it? Apologies for that. In the time since the last post I have since completed Good Bones and Profiles of the Future, and may post some brief thoughts on them shortly. I have also added Pompeii and Switch Bitch to the list.

…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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