The ‘To Read’ List (Updated 22nd January 2018)

toreadpile

EDIT: Updated 22nd January 2018 – Alias Grace and The Blind Assassin added to list.

Last update to this was way back in August, apologies – but rest assured I have been reading since then (honest!)…

…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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‘Blue Monday’ /Writing Resolutions so far!

bluemondayyearinreview

So today is ‘Blue Monday’
Or so they say,
Hang on, who is ‘they’ anyway?
Why, a purveyor of sunny holidays,
Who are hoping you’ll pay to fly far away
To keep post-Christmas blues at bay.

I mean, they must be right,
We must escape those cold, dreary nights
By giving ourselves that fleeting high
Of booking some random flight,
Run away to the heat, and hide;
Unfulfilled resolutions, out of sight, out of mind.

Today marks a day of which the concept I was not previously aware of, ‘Blue Monday’  ; supposedly the most depressing day of the year, according to various factors. As you can surmise from reading the linked Wikipedia article, the ‘calculation’ is largely based on absolute nonsense, inspiring me to write the slightly cheeky poem you see above. Yes, it is raining outside here in the UK today and in all honesty I rather would be on a beach somewhere, but it is also my day off, meaning that I have been able to get some writing done and look into potential submissions while my cat sleeps on my lap, coffee still within my reach. Doesn’t sound like too bad a day to me! Reading about the ‘failed New Year’s resolution’ factor, however, did prompt me to have a look at my previous post, detailing my writing new year’s resolutions for 2018, to see how I was getting on so far…

  1. Produce more content for the blog

Well, I’d say this post was a good start, seeing as it is not a Wednesday Poetry prompt nor part of any Poem-a-Day challenge. I do still need to figure out exactly what I want to post regularly on this blog though. Perhaps Mondays can continue to be pensive musings like this one…

2. Establish more of a presence on social media/online in general

This is something I’m still working on, trying to motivate myself to post something or at least engage with others daily, and also get things going on my Youtube channel (which already has a few videos of me performing – check them out!)

3. Submit more poetry for publication and competitions/put another poetry collection together

This is basically what I’ve spent most of this morning looking into! I think I’ve found somewhere to submit my 2015 and 2016 November Poem-a-Day Chapbooks (and the 2017 one has been submitted for that year’s competition), and I’ve also began the process of putting together a second full-length collection, with the intention to submit somewhere for publication – likely collating poems together around the theme of mental health, which I have discussed before as being a recurring theme in a lot of my work. So I will be very busy on that front 🙂

4. Continue being active in the Open Mic/Spoken Word circuit

I’ve already put myself forward to perform at this event in March, and there will be other events I hope to perform at as well 🙂

5. Work on my novel, as well as the short stories I have on the back burner…

…Still working on this! I need to figure out a healthy poetry/prose balance in my life…

6. Read more!

I am starting to get into the habit of winding down with a book before I go to bed in the evenings (instead of looking at a screen…), meaning I have been a lot more productive in my reading since Christmas. I intend to keep this up…

7. Start that other blog I’ve been meaning to for ages…

Shenmue_series_logo

My blog around a video game series that has became a great passion of mine is making steady progress. I have a domain set up, and have started work on content steadily. Expect to see it live by the end of the month, or in early February, hopefully 🙂

So yeah, not doing so bad too far, I think! Hope fellow writers out there are beating those January blues and keeping productive too!

Check out my debut 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

Recent Reading! (or, very quick book reviews)

toreadpile

So I’ve been slacking a little on the ‘Quick Book Review’ posts for a while, so I thought I’d put a post together with quick thoughts on the books I have been reading over the past few months (I will shortly post an update to my ‘To Read List’ as well). So here we are with an overview of my recent reading material:

PompeiiHarris

Pompeii (Robert Harris): I’ve always been fascinated and intrigued by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, and the destruction of the titular city resulting from it, so I was instantly drawn to this when I saw it in a charity shop. This book tells of the events leading up to it and the immediate aftermath from the perspective of vastly differing characters, which makes it an interesting read. It perhaps gets too caught up in tangents and minutiae a little too much for its own good at some points, but the focus on how it affects the water systems of Pompeii (and the surrounding towns) is nonetheless an intriguing approach.

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The ‘To Read’ List (Updated 9th August 2017)

toreadpile

EDIT: Updated 9th August 2017 – The Handmaid’s Tale and A Clockwork Orange added to 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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The ‘To Read’ List (Updated 25th July 2017)

toreadpile

EDIT: Updated 25th July 2017 – Alfie the Doorstep Cat added to 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…

Continue reading

The ‘To Read’ List (Updated 12th July 2017)

toreadpile

EDIT: Updated 12th July 2017 – Link to review for Misery added.

…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…

Continue reading

Quick Book Reviews: ‘Misery’

misery

Misery (Stephen King)

Misery is one of those well-known books that I somehow didn’t manage to get around to reading until very recently, nor had I seen the 1990 movie. Of course, I was aware of the basic plot, and the infamous ‘hobbling’ scene, but it was, perhaps criminally, not among the King books or movies that I had experienced thus far. I remedied that by finally sitting down to read the book recently (another that had been sitting on my shelf for a while, hence my motivation to start my ‘To Read List‘…) I have to say, I really was gripped by this one, and can see why it is one of King’s most higly regarded novels. The plot was already appealing to me being a writer myself, and King obviously relates the plight of the writer very well (this is why The Dark Half, one I had read a few years prior, is one of my favourites as well). King does a great job emphasising the sheer hopelessness of the author Paul Sheldon’s situation, trapped against his will in the house of his ‘biggest fan’ (who unfortunately for Paul just happens to be an ever-so-slightly unhinged former nurse-turned brutal murderer).

The concept of an obsessed fan forcing the author to undo the death of a character so beloved to them is a great one, and is perhaps even more chilling to read if you are a writer yourself. Notably, I have to say that I actually found the scene where Annie forces Paul to burn his manuscript very hard to read – perhaps more so than any involving physical torture or mutilation – and yes, even the part where she relieves him of a foot! (notably toned down in the film, but still effective). Despite the threat against his life, I found myself willing him to defy her and not to do it – no author should be forced into the situation of burning a finished manuscript to a crisp! He certainly feels the pain of having to do this as well, and it’s quite amusing that I considered this her biggest transgression considering the atrocious acts you discover she has committed over the course of her life. But I feel like this was perhaps King’s intention – while Paul’s situation is dire throughout the book, in his first-person narration he still manages to be flippant and sarcastic about the whole thing (mainly in his head, of course!) The climax of the book, where Paul finally gains the upper hand and escapes, is extremely satisfying (and intense!) to read as well, as he finally gains control of his own life again. I did find it interesting as well that during the point he is mostly resigned to his fate, he is nonetheless extremly productive in his writing. Under duress as he maybe, it still makes the point that a focused creativity is possible when the distraction of that pesky old outside world isn’t there!

Paul’s inner monologue is obviously lost in the movie, but I still found it an enjoyable watch. It takes some artistic liberties – fleshing out the local sherrif as a character when the book is more or less completely confined to Paul and Annie in the house – but it still works well, and I enjoyed the good natured marital ribbing between himself and his wife (making his brutal end at the hands of Annie all the more tragic). James Caan does a good job as Paul, but I do feel like it’s a role that could have been done by just about anyone. Kathy Bates truly makes the role of Annie her own, though, and she was certainly well deserving of the Oscar she won for this film. I was familar with some of her work previously, mainly in her roles in various seasons of American Horror Story, where she is always fantastic (bar the odd dodgy accent here and there), and knew before even watching the film that she’d be a good fit for the character. I was not disappointed with how the film handled the exhilirating climax either.

Overall, both the book and the movie were worthwhile to experience for me, and I salute Mr. King for creating such a claustrophobic and hopeless atmosphere, that keeps you rooting for the protagonist and yet still find the antagonist delightful in her quirkiness and derangement. King somehow manages this effortlessly.

So now I am reading The Green Mile, having already seen the film (but I expect I will rewatch it again after completing the book), so I’m on a bit of a King-fix at the moment, you might say. Stay tuned for the review on that very soon 🙂

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