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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My Writing New Year’s Resolutions for 2018

new-years

So I haven’t been as active on this blog as I would have liked in 2017, besides the annual April PAD and November PAD Challenges, of course. I would like to remedy that in 2018, as well as be a bit more disciplined and active with my writing in general. In that spirit, these are the resolutions that I would like to achieve in 2018:

  1. Produce more content for the blog

As I said above, while I have been posting my poems for both of the annual challenges from Writer’s Digest and also the Wednesday Poetry prompts, I haven’t posted much else this year, or at least not consistently. Should I keep posting more of my selections from my writing/feel good playlist? Continue with the yearly retrospectives? (which I haven’t been doing since 2016, whoops). Did people enjoy my Monday musings? Clearly I need to figure out a tighter focus for the blog, with regular posts for certain days of the week, but also ensuring I have enough time for my other writing pursuits. Should be easy, right? (Right?)

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

This is the part I have always found tricky, as I’m sure many have, getting your name out there and trying to promote any books that you have published. For the record, of course there is my blog here but I am also present on other sites as well, all of which I most likely need to be more active on, so watch this space:

https://www.facebook.com/speacockwriter
https://www.facebook.com/scribblingsofstu/
https://twitter.com/sppeac1987
https://scribblingsofstu.tumblr.com/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_BuDzfH3nh3J5xlCHw6awQ

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

awakening-headerpic

So as you may already be aware, I do have one poetry collection already available – The Awakening, which you can purchase in both paperback and E-book formats. You can also get a tasty sample in the form of the opening poem here. I have entered a few poetry competitions here and there, which earned me a place in the Poetry Rivals 2016 collection  But this year I aim to put together another poetry collection with the intention of getting it published, as well as submitting my chapbooks from both the 2015 and 2016 November PAD challenges. I also intend to be more active in submitting to poetry magazines and journals.

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

I did begin to achieve this in 2017, as the video evidence shows:

I’m fully aware I need to work on my performances and confidence on the stage, but I am eager to improve and get my name out there in 2018…

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

I have been working on and off on a novel for the past 3 or so years, and would really like to get back to it in 2018, as a lot of my focus has been on poetry as of late (not necessarily a bad thing, but I am eager to have a published novel at some point, as this has basically been a life-long dream of mine). While reading back over some of it makes me wince a little now, and the story most likely needs a lot of reworking, it is a story I really want to be out there in some form or another. There are also some short stories that I have begun and left on the back burner, so it would be nice to work on these too…

6. Read more!

This is always an important part of being a writer, and as you may have seen I have made efforts to discipline myself and get through the books that have forever been on my ‘To Read’ pile. (again this is another part of the blog I have been neglecting, apologies!). A big part of that for me, I think, will involve not getting distracted by my phone or various other screens quite so much, so wish me luck in that…

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

Shenmue_series_logo

On a perhaps unrelated note (but still semi-related!) I am a bit of an obsessive fan of the video game series Shenmue, and now that the long-awaited third game is finally a reality, my passion for the series has inspired me to write about it (a book even may potentially be coming in the future). In that spirit, I will be starting a blog about the series, with the provisional title of ‘Shenmusings’…so if that happens to be of interest to you, watch out for that…

And with that, I wish you all a happy and prosperous new year. Any other writers out there got resolutions of their own?

Until next time

Stu x

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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Quick Book Reviews: ‘Alfie the Doorstep Cat’

alfie

Alfie the Doorstep Cat (Rachel Wells)

Not to sound snobby, but I was expecting this book to be one of those light, fluffy reads, the sort designed for you to read while lounging on a beach on holiday, i.e. nothing too heavy or complicated in terms of plot or themes. And yes, it basically is, but I still found myself captivated by this tale of a homeless kitty trying to find a home in a scary and unfamilar street. It probably helps that I’m a bit of a sucker for anything involving cats or dogs in the first place; partly why From Baghdad with Love proved such an emotional read for me as well, and why I was inspired to write a poem about my recently acquired pet cat, who himself was homeless and seemingly looking for a home to call his home just like the titular Alfie of this book. As explained within the book, a ‘doorstep cat’ is one who stops at various different homes in a neighbourhood, for food and/or human affection, not simply choosing one to settle in. Alfie feels compelled to do this after his elderly owner passes away, and does not want to be in a situation where he is left all alone again, so therefore opts to have several homes rather than just one. One of the most interesting things about the book is how it is actually told from the perspective of Alfie – he is the one speaking in the first-person (first-feline?) narration. This in turn provides a lot of the humour in the book, giving a feline perspective to the actions of humans, which of course do not always make sense when viewed through the harsh judging eyes of a cat. While the plot and events end up becoming rather predictible after a certain point, and the dialogue often coming off as unnatural and clunky, I still found myself rooting for Alfie and the various humans he encounters, all with their own problems and issues in life. As I said, the book probably relies on you being an animal lover in order to emotionally manipulate you, but a lot of the sentiment does indeed ring true – Alfie brightens these people’s lives, and call me a foolish romantic if you like, but I am convinced that my own cat, Charlie, is able to tell when I’m upset or I’ve had a monumentally shitty day, and is always able to make me feel better. The book is hardly a literary masterpiece by any means, but there is something about it that is still very compelling. I’m even tempted to check out the sequels that have apparently followed, of the further adventures of Alfie.

While I’ve mentioned the writing and dialogue isn’t always exactly stellar, there is a surprisingly deep message from our feline hero at the end of the book, and I will leave you with his perspective of what it is to be be human:

“…Not that you ever become completely healed, you understand. There will always be a part of you that is still healing, still hurting, but that becomes a part of your character and you learn to live with it. That’s what I think happens, anyway, because that’s how it feels to me”.  — Alfie.

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

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