It’s Who You Know
There are so many way to choose a book. Judging a book by its cover often works, even though we all warn against that, of course. I love covers that are embossed, which will definitely make a book go up the Pick List.
Another factor is size. For Christmas, our school ‘gave’ us a book. A couple of months or weeks before Christmas, the teacher would read out the titles we could choose from. My way of picking a book? “How many pages?” I wasn’t even too worried what the book was about (as long as it wasn’t too sweet and soppy. There is a limit.) The thing is, Christmas holidays were two weeks, and the library closed for some of that, making it essential to stock up on good, long reads.
Even now, I like to pick a book that has a decent size, making it worth my time and money. Funny enough, I ended up writing a novella about time-travelling Vikings recently, so there are definitely exceptions!
Since joining the Association of Christian Writers, my ‘To Buy List’ has grown rapidly, and recently I have joined some other writers groups and found a lot more interesting titles. Maybe the daylight saving time will give me more time to read?
There is something incredibly cool about reading books written by friends and people you know. You can hear their voice reading to you, and it just made the whole reading experience even more satisfying. So here are a few books written by friends.
One that is not the kind of size I would go for, but it has an unusual shape, which moves it up the Pick List. Reading it, I still grumble about the size, mainly because it’s such a fabulous read, I wished there was more! It’s called Tripping The Flash Fantastic by Allison Symes, and has flash fiction as well as poems. Now, I’m new to writing, so new to flash fiction too. It’s such a fun way of writing though, and Allison has collected some brilliant pieces here. Flash fiction stories are really short, but with a great twist, turn or punchline at the end. Some of the stories were hilarious, others actually quite moving, or thought provoking. It’s making me want to have some fun with flash fiction too, such an inspiring read!
The next book that is on my List is Treasure in Dark places, by Liz Carter. Again, it’s a collection of poetry and short stories. Liz wrote these during her time of shielding this year, and I was thrilled to attend her online Launch Party recently. It was an amazing event (she even had a confetti canon, how fun is that!), and I loved the pieces that were read out. I actually bought two copies already, some books are too good not to give away (never permanently give your own away though, you never know when it will come in handy).
It has a gorgeous cover, not embossed, but well, can’t have everything, can we? Again, its size would not have made it onto my Pick List in school, but it has definitely made my Pick List on content. I know great things come in small packages, sadly, as this one is another one where you get to the last page, longing for more. I do know it’s not Liz’s only or even last book though, so that’s great news!
One of the poems read out at the Party was about Creation, so please let me just quote one verse, just to show you Liz’s power with words, her ability to put thoughts into shape:
“Eternity rushes through newly-forged shores
and whispers its promise through history’s doors,
streaming through ages an writing its pages
the creator’s song dances through all of our cages”
(Alpha, Treasure in Dark Places, Liz Carter)
The artwork is stunning as well, and again, like with my own nearly-finished-and-published-and available-project, I’m thrilled when a book is the working together of friends. There is something so special about holding a book, knowing it’s been a shared journey. This came out in the Launch Party, and I was so blessed by it.
The next one is a book with a size after my own heart, and its content is my go-to when the Pick List is based on what’s actually inside… It’s a series, another reason to make it onto my Pick List (saves a lot of searching, after all, you just work your way down the series, having a wonderful time, and covering a lot of presents!). The first one in the series is called Killer’s Countdown, and it’s by my friend Wendy H. Jones. It’s set in Dundee, and reading about the rain early on in the book satisfied my stereotype-loving mind straight away. It’s a detective story, and very well written, making you want more…
It’s got great characters, and a lot of information that makes me shudder when thinking about the necessary research. The cover is amazing, again, I will forgive my friend for the fact it’s not embossed, but there… I have the next in the series, Killer’s Craft, and have been incredibly disciplined in not diving right in, as I felt that would be unfair to the rest of my mountain of To Be Read pile, but it’s getting harder by the day. I’m so glad the clocks change tomorrow.
The last one for today is a autobiography, or would it be a memoir? (Like I said, I’m new to all this. Up till a year or two ago, there were only books. Fact or fiction, story type or poetry. Now there are Novellas, Anthologies, Collections, Memoirs, Faction even…) It has a plain cover, and again, embossing has been missed out on, but funny enough, I do like the cover. The white words against the black background do make it stand out.
It’s called John Fifteen Thirteen by John Nicholas Cassel. It’s written by an Instagram friend over in the States (don’t be rude, good things can actually come from there. Not all stereotypes are worth holding on to…), and I have been meaning to get a copy for absolutely ages. I did want a signed copy, but the cost of sending one over would be too huge, so I put it off a bit longer, then simply gave up and ordered one online. It’s an account of John “St Nick” and his experience as a police officer and security contractor. It’s not a big book, again, not on my Pick List in School type size, but it’s a slightly larger size than most books I read, so definitely worth adding to your Needing to Read List.
John “St Nick” has a wonderful way of looking at his experiences, seeing God’s hand in protecting him, and making him into the person he is today. I love his perspective, and really value him as an online friend, so I am looking forward to this read. I have a few books written by ex-special forces etc, but this book is unique because of John’s Biblical perspective, and his faith in Christ.
John Fifteen Thirteen has moved up my TBR pile, and although I normally frown upon that sort of preferential treatment, this time I feel it’s fair, as technically the book has been on my TBR list so long, it simply lacked the physical copy. It’s half a book away from being read, so I can’t wait to let you know how I got on!
So these are my books based on who I know, rather than page count or anything like that. It’s not even based on cover (like no embossing this time), or even blurb, but I love each of these books, and hopefully you enjoy them too. Do check out Sapphire Beach, especially with the weather turning wetter and colder, nothing beats a book set in sunny Crete!
And my new book, which is almost done, will be here before you know it! (she says, to spur herself on to greater things, like purchasing ISBN numbers and things like that…)
Do let me know what kind of books you enjoy, or whether you feel there is a book that should make it onto my Pick List urgently!