Monthly Archives July 2013

Book Review: Dominion

You know that feeling, it happens once in a while, when you finish reading a book that was so good you want to go back to the beginning and start again? Well, it was like that for me with CJ Sansom’s Dominion. It was the premise that caught my attention as soon as I read the pre-publication reviews: an alternate history set in Britain in 1952, peace is made with Hitler in 1941 which changes the direction of World War Two. An alternative world. Previously I had read one Sansom novel, Winter in Madrid, which I enjoyed; three of his Matthew Shardlake mysteries sit on my to-read shelf. After Dominion, I will turn to them quickly. The story focusses on four main characters, a scientist, a civil servant, the civil servant’s wife, and a Gestapo officer based at Senate House in London, the tall university building being the Gestapo’s London HQ with torture cells in the basement. This is a different Britain, where Jews are being rounded-up and transferred to camps in the country, where the Isle of Wight is occupied by the German army [which is still fighting in Russia], and where it is rumoured in Berlin that Hitler is either
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Categories: Book Love.

I agree with… SJ Watson

SJ Watson “Write every day even if it’s rubbish. Bad writing can be improved, but a blank page will always be a blank page.” [interview with Grazia magazine, November 2011] This is advice to new writers from Steve Watson, author of the sleeper hit Before I Go To Sleep. He is quite right. Nothing is whiter and more empty than a blank page staring at you. The only way to make it not-white, is to put some words on it. So many people say to me ‘I have an idea for a book.’ The difference is, I’m writing mine. Are you? Before I Go to Sleep is now a film with Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth. If you agree with SJ Watson, perhaps you will agree with:- Chris Pavone – put ordinary people into extraordinary situations Joanna Trollope – e-books are leased Deborah McKinlay – the lean years focussed me on what I really wanted   ‘Before I Go To Sleep’ by SJ Watson [UK: Black Swan] And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: Write every day even if it’s rubbish: I agree with… @SJ_Watson http://wp.me/p5gEM4-op via @SandraDanby #amwriting
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Categories: On Writing.

If books were real, Bella Swan…

Bella Swan… would be a vampire and live in Forks, she… would wear edgy Chanel make-up and… Victoria Beckham dresses every day.   ‘Breaking Dawn’ by Stephanie Meyer [UK: Atom] How would other fictional characters behave, if they were real? Mr Wickham in ‘Pride and Prejudice’ Sarah Burton in ‘South Riding’ Torak in ‘Wolf Brother’ And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: If #books were real, what would Bella Swan wear? BREAKING DAWN by Stephanie Meyer via @SandraDanby http://wp.me/p5gEM4-no
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Categories: Book Love and If books were real....

Great Opening Paragraph 30… ‘The L-Shaped Room’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“There wasn’t much to be said for the place, really, but it had a roof over it and a door which locked from the inside, which was all I cared about just then. I didn’t even bother to take in the details – they were pretty sordid, but I didn’t notice them so they didn’t depress me; perhaps because I was already at rock-bottom. I just threw my one suitcase on to the bed, took my few belongings out of it and shut them all into one drawer of the three-legged chest of drawers. Then there didn’t seem to be anything else I ought to do so I sat in the arm-chair and stared out of the window.” ‘The L-Shaped Room’ by Lynn Reid Banks  Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘Perfume’ by Patrick Suskind ‘Time Will Darken It’ by William Maxwell ‘Mara and Dann’ by Doris Lessing And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: A 1st para which makes me want to read more: THE L-SHAPED ROOM by Lynne Reid Banks #books https://wp.me/p5gEM4-mV via @SandraDanby
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

My favourite library… The British Library

I only visited the old British Library, when it was at the British Museum in Bloomsbury, once. When the plan to move to a new building St Pancras was mooted in the late 1970s, I was a student at Goldsmiths’ College, University of London. I saw the plans of the architect, Colin St John Wilson, and it was a case of instant dislike: all that red brick. Brutalist architecture, not my favourite. But I have an inbuilt love of all libraries.Now the building has mellowed and so have I. Now that I’ve been there, worked there, spent many days there all day, I have fallen in love with it. The quiet of the reading rooms [my favourite is Humanities One], the excellence of its systems, the large workstations… The British Museum’s Department of Printed Books was founded in 1753. From its inception it had the privilege of legal deposit, giving it the entitlement to a copy of most items printed in the UK: books, periodicals, newspapers, maps and printed music. Space was always a factor, with the storage of newspapers being moved early in the 20th century to the British Library Newspapers at Colindale. The building survived bombs dropped by
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Categories: On Researching and On Writing.

If books were real, Mr Wickham…

Mr Wickham… would lie on his Facebook page about his connections, his achievements, and his fortune. He would find Linked In a little more difficult, as no-one would want to link themselves to him. ‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen [Penguin] How would other fictional characters behave, if they were real? Bella Swan, vampire, in ‘Breaking Dawn’ Jamie Fraser in ‘Cross Stitch’ Torak in ‘Wolf Brother’ And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: If #books were real, Mr Wickham would lie on social media PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by Jane Austen via @SandraDanby http://wp.me/p5gEM4-nM
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Categories: Book Love and If books were real....

Great opening paragraph 29… ‘The Murder Room’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“On Friday 25 October, exactly one week before the first body was discovered at the Dupayne Museum, Adam Dalgliesh visited the museum for the first time. The visit was fortuitous, the decision impulsive and he was later to look back on that afternoon as one of life’s bizarre coincidences which, although occurring more frequently than reason would expect, never fail to surprise.” ‘The Murder Room’ by PD James  Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘Lucky You’ by Carl Hiassen ‘The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’ by Mark Twain ‘Lord of the Flies’ by William Golding And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: A 1st para which makes me want to read more: THE MURDER ROOM by PD James #books https://wp.me/p5gEM4-ny via @SandraDanby
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Aah Snoopy, you are so right… 1

Sometimes, the words of Snoopy are spot-on about writing.   ‘Snoopy’s Guide to the Writing Life’ ed by Barnaby Conrad and Monte Schulz [UK: Writer’s Digest Books]     And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: Sticking with a formula: great advice for writers from @Snoopy http://wp.me/p5gEM4-nZ via @SandraDanby
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.