The Firebrand – Marion Zimmer Bradley

I just finished what may well be my favourite retelling of the Iliad to date, and was looking forward to reviewing it.

However, as I was doing some post last page Googling, I came across this . According to the article, the much celebrated author apparently abused and molested her own child as well as many others.

Reading up about this left a bad taste with me. At the same time, I really did enjoy the novel, and found this review, much of which I completely agree with- including the note about the length. The novel perfectly brings to life classical Greece, and really demonstrates the argument that the mortals were merely playthings of the Gods. The author really explores fate, the will of the Gods and the relationship between mortal and immortal, much more than any others I’ve read to date. She also has an alternate view of the fall of Troy, and goes some may to describe what happens to Kassandra after the famed fall of the city.

I do recommend this to anyone who has an interest in ancient Greece, or loves a good historical romance. Maybe just don’t read up on the author.

The Forever Girl – Alexander McCall Smith

I’ve never read anything by Alexander McCall Smith, but I do know he penned the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series. Perhaps I should have started with one of those.

The story is likeable enough. Clover and David are the children of ex-pats living on the idyllic Cayman Islands. They’re thrust into friendship from a very young age –  inevitable when you’re parents move in the same social circles of a small community. Continue reading

The Best Feeling of All – Jack Ellis

So a friend of mine once told me that kids like to read books set in a place that’s familiar to them…maybe I’m a kid at heart, or this applies to everyone, because reading ‘The Best Feeling of All’ made me so very nostalgic! The novel is set on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, which is where I grew up, and the strong sense of place really had me hooked from the beginning.  I must also mention now that Jack Ellis seems to be the king of believable teen dialogue. The whip tight and age appropriate narrative throughout the novel really helped bring it all together and kept it all moving along nicely.

jack ellis

Continue reading

Books as Therapy

What a great site! I came across it while I was browsing The School of Life (another one of my faves!).

They can explain it much more eloquently than I…so without further ado..

This site was put together to accompany a bibliotherapy service offered by The School of Life. We often get the sense that somewhere out there is the perfect book for us and the problem we are facing at the moment – getting older, dealing with love, enduring work, having a good holiday, working out how to build a better society. This project is an exercise in linking up some books with the needs of our souls.

In the ideal culture we would get a personalised list of books which would be optimal for us to meet at just this point in our lives.”

I LOVE the idea that there is a book waiting to help us navigate each stage of our lives…probably a lot cheaper than therapy too :).  I also LOVE the idea of a personalised book list…where do I sign up? On an aside, I didn’t even know that that was a thing, but apparently it is! Check it out here. What a fun job!

The Song of Achilles – Madeline Miller

Many, many stories recount the ill fated love between Helen of Sparta and Paris of Troy. It started with the face that launched a thousand ships, the bloody battle in the age of the heroes that once walked amongst us, and the long and perilous road home for the Greeks. A cursory glance at my bookshelf reveals just a few of such tales. If you’re looking for a historically accurate recount of the battle based on the Iliad, look no further than Lindsay Clarke’s The War at Troy, and The Return from Troy. If you’re looking for a novel penned in Helen’s point of view, I recommend Margaret George’s Helen of Troy.

The Song of Achilles tells the familiar story, however through the eyes of Patroclus, Achilles beloved comrade and, according to Miller, lover.

“We were like gods at the dawning of the world, & our joy was so bright we could see nothing else but the other.”

The song of achilles

Patroclus, himself a Prince, is cast out of his kingdom and sent to live with the gentle Peleus, King of the Myrmidons. It is here the relationship between Patroclus and Achilles blossoms from jealousy, to friendship, and amongst the lush landscape of Mt Pelion, something even more. Continue reading

Reading about writing

We’re told that in order to become good writers, we must write every day. And I do. Lists, journal entries, blog entries, tweets, copy for ads… but I don’t feel like I’m ever writing. Ideas pop into my over stimulated and tired mind, stay as I mull them over them and then poof! they’re gone.

If, like me you’re looking for your voice or your big story, this resource may help you as much as it has me. I came across this blog, gosh knows where, but I’ve been following it for some time via Feedly. Only now when I visited the link on my desktop did I realise it’s more than just a writing blog…it seems to be a community of writers, and also a tool to help you start on your novel. Can’t vouch for that, but I can definitely vouch for the blog! Which probably means it’s legit actually.

What are some of your favourite writing blogs/inspirations? I’d love to add them to my Feedly, so please drop them below! Because there’s just nothing quite like reading about writing, when you could actually be..writing! 😀