Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Books - mine and others

Since, as always, I am bogged down with things, I'll just give a quick resume of what's happening on the books front.

The Goldenford team have been active in the last couple of weeks; we held the second of our writers' workshops at Cranleigh. The first had a disappointing number of recruits, but we decided against cancelling and our attendees said that it was very good. The second, last weekend was very well attended and enthusiastically received. We also sold a number of our books, there.

Following that, we had a book sale at St Peter's School, Merrow, and were very satisfied with sales there, too. I advised one young woman not to buy my autobiographical book, The Fruit of the Tree, telling her it was about cot death. Later the others asked me why I'd said that to her.
'She was pregnant,' I replied. But no, the others thought that the smock she was wearing is fashionable now. A lesson to me. Don't judge from appearances, and let people read the blurb for themselves.

We have also been at a meeting with Guildford Library about an event next year for World Book Day, when we will be there all the evening, talking to callers-in about our books. There will be other authors, and it will be promoted by Surrey Libraries.

I have been very successful in the last couple of weeks with my Kindle version of Tainted Tree, which has had good sales following a plug in http://dailycheapreads.com/ and the American site of the same name. I should receive some good royalties during the next three months.

In addition, Untreed Reads have just published my fourth short story - The Green Girl - a bit different from most of my down to earth writing, a fantasy, in fact. You can find it at www.untreedreads.com, and they are currently having a sale of many short stories and other works, so pay them a visit.

I'll be returning soon to my Israel blog, but not today.

Finally, here's my latest book review:

Brooklyn by Colm Tóibin

Brooklyn tells the story of Eilis, the younger daughter of an Irish Catholic family, just leaving school. Her older sister, Rose, has a good job, and the impression given is that the family - that is, the two sisters and their mother - are not flush with money and it is important that Eilis and her sister are both in work to maintain the family. Their brothers are already working in England. Despite the difficulties of getting work, there is no feeling that the family are on the breadline. On the contrary, they have a happy life and a great deal of laughing goes on. Eilis is on the cusp of adulthood and involved with dances and meeting young men. Nevertheless, more or less without her agreement, it is arranged that she will go to Brooklyn to live in an Irish community where there is a much greater possibility of finding work. During the course of the next year, Eilis has to overcome her sadness at leaving her family and adjust to a new life.

This was an unusual book in that it was written in what I felt was a rather formal, old-fashioned way. I felt that the heroine was slightly detached from me, the reader, whereas we tend now to get into the mind and thoughts of the main protagonist.

I also thought the book hardly had a plot at all, although it was a story. As such, it was full of detail - interesting at that, but not all the events that happened would necessarily have an outcome later on.

Brooklyn gives an insight into America in that period, but in the end, I came to the conclusion that this was the story of the immigrant experience, specifically the Irish/American experience. Travelling on an ocean liner, far away from friends and families, living as a paying guest with strangers, and having to adjust to the pain of homesickness must have been what many young people did in the 1950s, when they left Ireland in search of success.

Friday, November 11, 2011

At the 11th hour

I went to London today and arrived at the ticket barrier at Waterloo at just on 11 o'clock. Although a few people were milling about, I joined the many people who stood there on the concourse for two minutes. A moving experience.