There are many reasons why authors may choose to publish their work anonymously or pseudonymously. Historically, this has primarily been due to the threat of persecution or prosecution if the material produced was controversial and/or illegal. More recently, however, it has often stemmed from the author’s desire to simply let the words speak for themselves. Continue reading
I blogged about Jon Ronson’s talk at the Hay Festival earlier this year which was about his latest book So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed. I read it a couple of weeks after attending the Festival and it is by far the most terrifying book I’ve read this year. Shame is one of the most powerful yet least talked-about human emotions and Ronson examines the dark consequences of shaming people on social media, usually after they have said or done something politically incorrect. Having already heard Ronson talk about the main content of the book such as the Justine Sacco and Jonah Lehrer cases, there were fewer elements of surprise for me when reading it as some of the material was already familiar. However, Ronson’s observations on the subject are very astute and he has chosen an interesting range of examples for the book. Although ‘So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed’ doesn’t provide any real “answers” as to why people shame others, it is a thought-provoking look at the very modern phenomenon of online mob justice. Continue reading
Thousands of volunteers and institutions will be getting involved with World Book Night tomorrow and giving away around 250,000 special editions of 20 different books to people in their communities. While World Book Day celebrates reading specifically for children, World Book Night was established in 2011 as an alternative celebration for adults. 35% of the population in the UK never read for pleasure and World Book Night is about reaching as many people as possible who don’t regularly read, particularly in prisons, hospitals, care homes and homeless shelters. As well as improving literacy and employability, reading has profound positive effects including social interaction through participating in book groups, as well as general well-being and happiness.
When I read ‘Carrie‘ and ‘11.22.63‘ a couple of years ago, I said I would like to read more of Stephen King’s other fiction in between his first novel and what was his most recent novel at the time. Originally published in 1987, ‘Misery’ tells the story of Paul Sheldon, a writer who is attempting to move away from his popular series of historical romances featuring Misery Chastain towards serious literary fiction. After being badly injured in a car accident, Paul is “rescued” by Annie Wilkes, a nurse who also happens to be his “Number One Fan”. However, Annie is devastated to learn that Paul will be killing off her favourite character and forces him to write a new novel where Misery is brought back to life. Or else. Continue reading
‘On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft’ by Stephen King is part-autobiography, part advice manual for aspiring authors. The first part of ‘On Writing’ is a personal and often very witty memoir as King recalls his journey towards becoming a published author. The second part explores what King calls the ‘writer’s toolbox’, including tips on vocabulary, grammar, elements of style and editing. The final part is where King describes the car accident in 1999 which nearly killed him halfway through writing this very book and the long recovery process afterwards. There is also a very interesting reading list at the end (along with a second one if you read the 10th anniversary edition as I did). It sounds like a slightly haphazard structure but it works because the subject of writing is always at the heart of it. Continue reading
What a book to start the year. I loved it. I was particularly intrigued by the original concept of the novel – travelling back in time to try and stop John F. Kennedy being assassinated in Dallas on 22nd November 1963 – and I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, I would go as far as saying ‘11.22.63’ was probably the most enjoyable and imaginative book I’ve read for a very very long time. Continue reading
Continuing my current trend of reading freakishly disturbing books on a Kindle whilst commuting to work, this week I have also read ‘Carrie’ by Stephen King. The book tells the story of, yes you guessed it, Carrie White, a seventeen year old high school student. After being humiliated at her school prom, she exacts her revenge on her fellow classmates with spectacularly gruesome consequences through her telekinetic powers. This book definitely stopped me falling asleep on the train. Continue reading