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      Signing Up   11/06/2018

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    • Hayley

      June Supporter Giveaway   06/01/2019

      For the June giveaway I chose the theme 'The Gift of Reading.' One that I think we can all appreciate! The winner will receive four books, including:     The Gifts of Reading by Robert MacFarlane - 'An essay on the joy of reading, for anyone who has ever loved a book.'   plus three little short but (hopefully) thought provoking reading gifts...   The Reckoning by Edith Wharton - 'Two moving stories of love, loss, desire and divorce, from one of the great chroniclers of nineteenth-century New York life.' Create Dangerously by Albert Camus - 'Camus argues passionately that the artist has a responsibility to challenge, provoke and speak up for those who cannot in this powerful speech, accompanied here by two others.' It Was Snowing Butterflies by Charles Darwin - 'A selection of Darwin's extraordinary adventures during the voyage of the Beagle.'    As always, supporting members will be entered automatically into the random draw at the end of the month. If you want to be entered into the draw but don't support yet, you can do so here: https://www.patreon.com/bookclubforum   Good luck   

Hayley

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About Hayley

  • Rank
    Addicted!
  • Birthday 04/25/1992

Profile Information

  • Reading now?
    The Eyre Affair - Jasper Fforde
  • Gender
    Female
  • Location:
    Birmingham (UK)
  • Interests
    Apart from reading, I like playing the guitar and writing sometimes :)

Contact Methods

  • Website URL
    bookclubforum.co.uk

Recent Profile Visitors

4,368 profile views
  1. Going Paperless

    I am the opposite of paperless. I write everything down in notebooks (sometimes with coloured pens which is extra satisfying...), I have different types of post-it notes for reminders, a physical calendar on the wall for important dates to remember, a physical diary to keep track of meetings etc. I find it hard to read for long from a computer screen, so if I have to read a long article I print it and I've never read an entire e-book. I have literally just bought a second hand kindle though, so the last two things are going to change! I do also have meeting reminders and things on my laptop and phone, I just feel better having a physical copy as well.
  2. I haven't got it yet, is it good so far??
  3. Yes, it's fine. As Raven said, if you were taking pictures of the pages and posting them it would be different, but there's no reason you couldn't post a picture of the outside of the book (or even the endpapers etc. inside). Good luck with your new book blog
  4. It's good to see that you (mostly) enjoyed your last 3 books! That was a good mix of new books you bought too, I'll be interested to see what you think of them all. Particularly Milkman though, which I can't decide if I want to read.
  5. Books in the rest of 2019

    I can't believe I forgot that The Secret Commonwealth (The Book of Dust Volume Two) by Phillip Pullman is out this year! It should be out on October 3rd and I've just pre-ordered the signed slipcase edition from Waterstones! I can't wait to see it!
  6. Read-a-thon 2019

    I am but they're a lot darker and more intense than I was expecting! I read another one of the stories on Sunday night, so that was 53 pages in total. Not much, but more than I probably would have read if it hadn't been the read-a-thon! I can say already that moving the October read-a-thon is fine with me but a reminder in September would be great
  7. It is clearly a lucky shelf!
  8. I haven't heard of James Baldwin but I agree that is a great, eye-catching cover! I've actually never read a self help book, how are you finding that one? Is it easy to dip into? I don't usually like to read more than one book at the same time but when I do they have to be very different books. So, for example, I could be reading a fantasy novel and a book of modernist short stories, or a thriller with a non fiction book. I feel like I would end up blending the stories in my imagination if they were too similar.
  9. Read-a-thon 2019

    You're both doing great! Had a much slower read-a-thon here. I decided to start Folk by Zoe Gilbert and I've read the first three short stories in that, but only for a total of 42 pages! Are you continuing the read-a-thon tomorrow @Athena?
  10. It's so nice when a book bought completely at random turns out to be great isn't it? Glad you enjoyed your last two books!
  11. To begin at the very beginning, when did you know that you wanted to be an author and at what point did you begin to feel that it was possible? I knew I wanted to make stories since I understood that stories existed. Like, in reception class I already knew I wanted to write. I was a pretty confident reader and I just saw this vast magical ocean of making up cool stuff stretching before me. Writers are supposed to have great imaginations but I decided, at 4, ‘I want to write’ and I never had the wit to think up an alternative. I hope I can sound a note of caution here without coming off like a handwringing pedant: I do think it’s wise to be careful about the distinction between writing the act, and ‘writer’ the identity. ‘Being an author’ makes it such a global thing. It’s – in my humble opinion – very dangerous to make writing too much about your actual identity. Because if you struggle with it at some point, or get blocked, or people don’t like your work – well, it can feel like you’re coming apart. Thinking of yourself as a writer is to constrain your humanity. Let’s not be authors. Being a human is so much more interesting. Stand up poetry seems a particularly scary way to share your work, one where the audience's feedback is instant and inescapable. Obviously, having several award winning shows, your performances were very successful but how did you deal with the fear of sharing your work in that way for the first time and do you think that experience shaped your later writing? The first time I read out into a microphone, I was almost catatonic with fear. I felt dizzy, and afterwards I couldn’t remember what had happened. But I felt pleased with myself for doing something that didn’t come easily to me. One of the first times I performed a drunk chap got on stage and held a Stanley knife to my throat. After that mere disapproval doesn’t seem so bad. But honestly, the fear was continual, and punishing, and sort of exhilarating too. Adrenaline is quite the drug – it numbs pain, your reactions speed up, you feel very alive. But the day after I’d feel exhausted. So now that I’m a dad I’ve really cut back. It was quite tough on my nerves, too. Running work past audiences does make you very conscious of not waffling. Of making stuff work on the line. I mean, I don’t want to suggest audiences are some perfect literary crucible – they’re not. You can get away with lazy stuff – and know you’re getting away with it – by appealing to their prejudices, or going low-status and making them root for you, but repeating the same lines over and over, say 100 times or more, you definitely get to a stage where you don’t want to say that bum line ever again, so you tweak it. It’s weird though – a lot of reviewers read in my bio that I’m a poet, and comment on how my fiction is written with a poet’s eye. My sentences get dissected through this lens ‘oh, Tim’s a poet’. But all my poems were comedy doggerel about bottoms and farting. You couldn’t get much farther from interbellum nature writing and gothic Fantasy if you tried. Amongst the many outstanding reviews you received for The Honours, The Guardian compared your writing to that of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. Others have compared you to Philip Pullman and Ian MacEwan. Do you feel like any particular authors did inspire your own writing? And, what type of books do you enjoy reading, in your spare time? I love – though don’t write like – Ursula Le Guin. I just think she’s so rad. After I wrote The Honours, a friend recommended I read True Grit by Charles Portis, and I did, and, well. What an amazing novel, with an amazing voice. I loved it with all my heart. Oh – I also thought Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke was an absolute treat. I can’t believe such a daring, interesting book got published and did so well. It makes me feel very happy so many people recognised how utterly superb it is. I don’t think it’s accurate to say my writing’s like any of the authors you mentioned, though I don’t contest reviewers’ right to make such comparisons, and obviously it’s not uncomplimentary to be compared with very popular writers. But, for example, Neil Gaiman is much better at getting to the point than me. He has a leaner prose style and his stories move faster. Terry Pratchett is much funnier and more playful. Phillip Pullman is defter with his themes and more epic. And Ian McEwan is worse. I love reading adventure, I read a little bit of manga and comics, and I read a lot of fascinating non-fiction on various periods or subjects I need to know for my latest fiction project. Recording the podcast means a varied diet of whoever’s on the show next, so a nontrivial portion of my reading is out of my control. I just like good adventures where the writing isn’t rubbish. That’s all I ask. [Tim's podcast 'Death of 1000 Cuts' can be found here http://www.timclarepoet.co.uk/couchto80kwritingbootcamp/ and there's a great range of authors on there, from V.E Schwab to Nick Harkaway, Jess Kidd and Garth Nix!] A lot of people really love the main character of The Honours, Delphine, who we get to meet again in your new book, The Ice House. What do you think it is about Delphine that makes her such a likeable character? Did you expect her to be so loved? She’s a paranoid, violent, bull-headed proto-fascist who has an obsession with firearms and keeping England safe from foreigners. Frankly I’m astonished at the number of people who’ve told me ‘I wish I’d been like Delphine when I was growing up’. But. She’s also proactive. And clever. And fiercely loyal. She cares about people. And she has suffered in her own life. She’s rather lonely. And however wrong she is, she believes in a sort of justice. I think in many ways she’s a personification of the many flaws and virtues of England itself. Olaf Stapledon once said – and I paraphrase – it is possible to be proud of being English, as long as one is also ashamed. I didn’t write Delphine to launder the crimes of racism, inequality, colonial violence and snobbery, or to put an acceptable face on them. But it’s harder to hate a human being when we spend time experiencing the world through their eyes. And when we first meet her she is only a child. She believes what the newspapers and state institutions have told her. I feel like, when we meet someone, their qualities attract us to them, but it’s their flaws that make us love them. Delphine has both in abundance. What inspired the fantastical concepts of The Honours and The Ice House? I mean, the dumb, true answer is: it’s just stuff that’s been rattling around my brain for years that I thought would be cool. Fat Maw has existed as a place in my head for about 20 years. Ditto the vesperi, though they never truly crystallised until I was swarmed by about 100 flying foxes in the botanical gardens in Sydney. I’m actually very literal when it comes to Fantasy. I knew I was going to write a novel set in the jungle while I was walking through the jungle in Borneo. I looked around and thought ‘oh, well this will be the book then’. All the areas, all the set pieces, the boat ride, quite a lot of Fat Maw itself – all just my literally writing down what I saw. The ice house I came up with after literally going to Holkham Hall and seeing the ice house there. It’s really ploddingly linear when I set it out like that, but honestly, there’s not a huge amount of imagination involved. Not as much as you’d think, anyway! You know, we had an infestation of rosemary beetles in the garden, and they’re beautiful, miraculous things. And I was like, oh cool, these can go in. Once I’m in novel-mode I just hoover up the world around me for content, and I’m not terribly discriminating. You've talked about the difficulty of fitting your novels into a particular genre, especially The Ice House. Could you explain a little bit about why this causes difficulties? On the same topic, why do you think it's important for authors to write the stories they want to tell, rather than the stories that might be easier to sell? It’s hard talking about it without coming off like I’m self-mythologising or valorising my choices as if I’m some impossibly noble pioneer rather than a fellow who happens to be writing what’s in his brain. I’m sure that folk who write juicy, commercially-viable bang-in-the-centre of their genre fiction are writing just as much from their hearts as I am, with just as much sincerity and enthusiasm. The Honours doesn’t read quite like any genre you’ve read before. You probably go into with historical/gothic spectacles on, and they work very well, until all at once they don’t. And I really enjoyed playing with the effect of twisty genre expectations. Because genre is less something the text does, and more a kind of heuristic the reader brings to it to fill in the gaps and make sense of it. Genre’s a kind of mental rule of thumb, right? If we start with a dead body and a detective, the detective’s probably not an alien. We can probably rule out time travel in the absence of big SF semiotic markers like some kind of silvery disc device or a spaceship. It’s fascinating to me, for example, how a lot of readers have a heteronormative filter running in their heads, so like, every male character is straight unless we actively see them like tonguing a dude. There’s a burden placed on the author to prove that characters are gay or non-white or whatever, where straightness or whiteness are like genre expectations. ‘I’m reading a white book, this character’s probably white’ is a subconscious lens through which so many readers read so many books. The effect of all this is: a lot of readers don’t notice a monster even when you stick it right there in front of them, call it a monster and show its body in detail. Or else they rationalise it away so quickly their brains erase it. Same with Delphine’s being gay. It’s not implied. In The Honours it’s bluntly, unambiguously stated. But even that isn’t enough for some people! The no-homo heuristic seamlessly explains away information that doesn’t fit the model, to the extent that some readers genuinely don’t take it in to begin with. It’s wild. Do I think it’s important to write stories you want to write over ones that are easier to sell? I’m not sure I do. It’s completely up to you. I wouldn’t ever ask someone to forgo the ability to keep a roof over their heads. I just don’t know the answer to that. I try to write the best I can. I work very hard. I wouldn’t hold myself up as an example. I just don’t know if I could write to a market, if I’d have the skill, and I don’t see myself enjoying it. I only have one life and I’m here writing the stories that could only have come from me. But there are other ways of being. On the subject of selling books, you've been very open about your own book sales and the money you make from those and also how, as an author, there's a subtle pressure to present an image of success. [See http://www.timclarepoet.co.uk/3-weeks-in-the-life-of-a-new-book/ ] Do you think it would be better, for aspiring authors and for readers, if there was more open honesty about the money authors make compared to the time and effort they put into writing and marketing? Well, yes. But I do think quite a few authors are reasonably open – it’s just that the very nature of not finding a big audience is, well. You’re not speaking to a big audience. So the successes get amplified and the books that fall by the wayside don’t register. It’s partly a cognitive bias that humans have with all sorts of things, where we overestimate the likelihood of events because they stick out more and are easier to recall. I can call to mind people like JK Rowling, Philip Pullman, Stephen King and George RR Martin far easier than I can even one name of someone who worked really hard at books for years and failed to find an audience. So it feels in my mind that the former is more common, even though I know rationally it isn’t. Whenever I’ve read something about how hard publishing is: look, do you want to know the truth? Honestly – and I feel a bit embarrassed admitting this – whenever I read something about how dire earnings or sales are for most authors, I think: well, for you maybe. But I’m different. I’m going to smash it. It’s not exactly arrogance. But it’s self-belief that doesn’t accord with statistical reality, at least. But look, I’ve had friends who’ve had huge successes. Every month I chat on the podcast with authors who’ve found big loyal audiences. I know it’s possible. It’s just that I only see the successes, not the failures. I just don’t know what else to do with myself. I guess I often fall foul of forgetting that writing can be good therapy, but writing the career isn’t. You can’t use a career for therapy. Speaking of the effort you have to put into your work as an author, can you tell us a little bit about how you deal with the huge project of writing a novel? How do you manage your time, for example, and motivate yourself through difficult periods? [For those who are interested, Tim has a free writing podcast which you can find here: http://www.timclarepoet.co.uk/couchto80kwritingbootcamp/ ] I mean, at the moment I mess it up quite a lot. I’m a parent, a stay-at-home dad, I look after my daughter for half-days and get a total of four days a week to work, give or take. But things go wrong, I’m often tired, my mental health can be a bit up and down. It’s tricky. If I’ve fallen into a rut I try to be kind to myself, and do at least 10 minutes longhand in a journal. Otherwise, I set my timer for 30 mins and write until it stops, without checking social media. That helps. I’ve had to accept that I can only do my best. I try not to compare myself to others. Mental illness is this invisible thing that sucks away productivity, and I can either shame myself about it, or treat myself with compassion. It would be nice to write faster and better, but I won’t be mean to myself for not meeting some arbitrary standard. You've suggested on social media that The Ice House hasn't been reviewed by many readers. How important is it to authors that readers write and share reviews? Pretty much essential. The sky has always been falling in bookland – everyone has been saying how it’s been getting harder ever since I can remember, so I don’t want to overstate the case, but look. Word-of-mouth is the secret sauce, the fairy dust, the formula X. Share on forums, write reviews on Amazon and elsewhere, write book blogs, chat about it on social media, do gorgeous book pics on Instagram. These things are life for a book. Even prizes don’t shift many copies these days, except for the really big ones. Are we allowed to know what you're working on now!? The working title is All Goblins Must Die and it’s about an enclave of war refugee goblins who live in a commune on a tower at the top of a floating city. Four of them do a heist on a food wagon that goes wrong, and they end up being the only people who can save the city. I know I speak for all of us in thanking Tim for his time and the brilliant answers above!
  12. How can I edit my forum signature?

    You can find the rules on changing your signature here (second post): Where people were talking about ten posts above, that’s because you can’t actually change your signature until you have ten posts. I hope that helps
  13. Books in the rest of 2019

    I'm looking forward to The October Man by Ben Aaronovitch, which should be out on the 13th June I think. It's a novella from the Rivers of London series, so not quite as exciting as a full novel, but still exciting!
  14. The Gaming Box

    Oooh I forgot that was today! I thought the release would be later than that! Also excited to play it
  15. Read-a-thon 2019

    I will be joining in but I haven't decided what to read yet. I can't decide whether I feel like short stories or something crime related. I have quite a few things to get done this weekend, so probably won't have time for both, but we'll see!
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