Rather than wait until I've read books before reviewing them, I think a halfway house is to at least let people know about books and, if possible, my first impressions. My intention is to write full reviews of these in due course. I hope you find these snapshots useful and interesting.Read More
So you think you've read some atrocious writing in your life? Well, you ain't seen nothing yet.Read More
How should you pitch a publisher with your book proposal? Or, to look at this another way, how should you not do so? This book answers that question.Read More
Even if you are a non-fiction writer, this book is worth reading.Read More
A well-written and, frankly, frightening book about the benefits we get from sleep. frightening? Yes, because of the costs we pay when we skimp on (good quality) sleep.Read More
If you can get to Shoreditch in London, be sure to visit the Brick Lane Bookshop. Thiis article tells you why.Read More
Read on for news about my new books-related newsletter. Reviews of books and bookshops, new book announcements, writerly tips, and news about my own works.Read More
The London Book Fair website now has seminar listings in place. This article lists my top 11 sessions so far.Read More
This book may be thirty years old, but its advice is still pertinent. If you want to have a blitz or crackdown against, or shake-up of, bad writing (all examples of 'tabloidese'), then this is the book for you.Read More
How an experience at one of my favourite bookshops warmed me up on a freezing day.Read More
Baking with Kaka is a great book, especially if you're a writer and an avid reader.Read More
If you have a tonne of books, what's the best way of organising them? Here are a few suggestions.Read More
Where to have coffee and buy books in Hampstead, London.Read More
‘Dear Reflection’ is the memoir of Jessica Bell, author, graphic designer and musician. I think many of us are interested in the ‘back story’ of people we admire: how did they come to be the person they are today? How many years did it take for them to become an ‘overnight success’? What hurdles did they have to leap over in order to arrive here?
Well, with this book Jessica has obliged, and shared her story with us. The ‘reflection’ in the title refers to her inner voice. I thought this was a clever device, the idea of one’s reflection having a life of her own, but whose very existence would not be possible without us. In literature the idea of another world that awaits you through the mirror is a well-known one, but in this book the concept is more personal, and more original for that.
Jessica portrays very well the voice of the young child, teenager and young woman as her story progresses. That’s quite a feat, and helps to involve and engage the reader on an emotional level.
On that score, the book is not exactly an easy read. It made me feel, at various times, anguish, sadness, anger and relief. Given that my starting point with any memoir is ‘why should I care?’ and my immediate response to people emoting is ‘pull yourself together’, that is an achievement! At times while reading the book, I wanted to give Jessica a big hug.
But the book is by no means all doom and gloom. In fact, ultimately it’s a testament to the power of the human spirit, and my firm belief that everything happens for a reason. Anyone aspiring to be successful in life should read this book, which is honest, and hopeful.
Dear Reflection is available on Amazon (affiliate link).
Great news! Jessica will be in London in September '17, running a self-publishing master class. Click the link for details.
How to read a book a week.Read More
Alongside the London Book Fair is the What Works education conference. As you may have surmised from its proximity to the LBF, it focuses on educational publishing.Read More
I've just published my first Kindle book. Here are a few brief reflections.Read More
A quick heads-up about a newsletter I find quite useful, and mention of a couple of books.Read More
If you have an ebook reader or app, especially the Kindle, then you're in luck. Here are 5 free and low-cost services from which you can obtain new books every day!Read More
When it comes to writing book reviews books, I've found that a one-size fits all approach not to be very useful. Here are the 5 types of review I write, ranging from the full length, everything but the kitchen sink version, to zero words except to say "This book exists"!Read More