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Uni: Week 4

Yes, it’s the weekly update about my MA adventures.

I have my results back for the assignments I handed in at the beginning of term. For my radio drama I got 73% and a suggestion that I might consider writing radio drama for my dissertation. Another tutor suggested I’d have got a higher mark with a less restrictive subject, but I enjoyed it, It’s easy writing stories based on reality because once I get all the character traits and background detail, and the timeline sorted out in my head I can just fit it all together. Continue reading

Review: ‘A Life Discarded’ by Alexander Masters

Published by: Fourth Estate

Publication Date: 5th May 2016

I.S.B.N.: 9780008130770

Format: Hardback

Price: £16.99

Blurb

Unique, transgressive and as funny as its subject, A Life Discarded has all the suspense of a murder mystery. Written with his characteristic warmth, respect and humour, Masters asks you to join him in celebrating an unknown and important life left on the scrap heap.

A Life Discarded is a biographical detective story. In 2001, 148 tattered and mould-covered notebooks were discovered lying among broken bricks in a skip on a building site in Cambridge. Tens of thousands of pages were filled to the edges with urgent handwriting. They were a small part of an intimate, anonymous diary, starting in 1952 and ending half a century later, a few weeks before the books were thrown out. Over five years, the award-winning biographer Alexander Masters uncovers the identity and real history of their author, with an astounding final revelation.

A Life Discarded is a true, shocking, poignant, often hilarious story of an ordinary life. The author of the diaries, known only as ‘I’, is the tragicomic patron saint of everyone who feels their life should have been more successful. Part thrilling detective story, part love story, part social history, A Life Discarded is also an account of two writers’ obsessions: of ‘I’s need to record every second of life and of Masters’ pursuit of this mysterious yet universal diarist.

My Review

I really enjoyed this book, as much a biography of the mysterious diarist as an autobiography of Masters and his friends during the five years he worked on the diaries and writing this book. I sped through it in a matter of hours, the writing kept me transfixed.

Masters is a sensitive biographer, disclosing new information as he learns it, and dealing honestly with his qualms when he learns that the diarist, Laura Francis is still alive. The writing is fluid and engaging, humorous at times and honest.

5/5

I’ve just started studying the life-writing component of my MA Creative Writing. My tutor suggested we should start reading biographies if we didn’t already to get an idea of the diversity of the form. I’ve read biographies in the past, but this was a refreshing change. It only took me four hours to read this book, so I started another one, before I decided to write this review. The book I’m reading at the moment is a biography of Queen Victoria, in the form of fiction. They’re different ways of writing biography but they both work well.

 

Review: ‘Body in The Box’, by E.R. Fallon

Published By: Joffe Books

Publication Date: 19th December 2017

I.S.B.N.: 9781912106004

BLURB

The frail body of a young boy is found discarded in an old cardboard box. Even in a hard-edged town used to deadly crimes, this touches a nerve.

BODY IN THE BOX is the first book in the Stygian Town mystery series featuring three very different homicide detectives.

Detectives Dino Copper and Terry Jackson have been partners and friends for years. Now a new detective is drafted in to join them: Rebecca Everhart. They must quickly learn to work together on the biggest case of their careers, the disturbing discovery of the ‘Body in the Box’, as it’s known by the captivated media and the city’s worried citizens.

The case takes the three detectives deep inside the lives of the insular Eastern European immigrant community and the world of unlawful medical practices. The case also evokes an eerie childhood memory of Dino’s, where a boy from his neighborhood vanished and was never seen again.

What appears to be a straightforward, modern-day murder case has more to do with the past than the present, and the detectives come to a genuinely unnerving — and life-threatening — conclusion.

Continue reading

2017 – onwards and upwards

2016 wasn’t a great year for a lot of people and there were political and cultural events that really mucked it up, but for me personally it wasn’t all horrible. Rather than dwelling on the upsetting stuff I’m going to list the positives from last year.

  • I made new friends, some of whom I’ve become very fond of;
  • I tried to be sociable, I even tried dating;
  • I travelled abroad for the first time ever;
  • I started my MA in Creative Writing.

This year, I can only go forwards. Continue reading

Review: ‘Crucifixion’s a Doddle’ by Julian Doyle

See, I told you I’d get round to reviewing a book eventually. Took me all day to find the energy but at last I have!

Publication Date: 1st November 2016

Published by: Clink Street Publishing

Format: Paperback

I.S.B.N.: 978-1911110385

Price: £11.99 (paperback), £3.49 (kindle)

Continue reading

A rant against Commercialmass

Druid Life

Let me start by saying that if you are celebrating a festival over the winter, as a spiritual festival, then I take no issue with it. If you are, in a more communal way, celebrating family, and friendship and planning things that will make people happy – yourself included – I take no issue with it. All power to you. Winters are gloomy, often depressing times and a bit of warmth and good cheer goes a long way.

Commercialmass is none of those things.

Commercialmass is about spending money you don’t have on things you don’t need – quite possibly to appease people you don’t even like. Commercialmass is false jollity powered by spending and guilt. It’s the pressure to make a big day, even if you are tired, and worn and could do with a rest. It’s the time honoured tradition of pulling threads out of people who were…

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