Friday 26 March 2021

Books I've Read Recently by Shirley-Anne McMillan

I'm trying to make as much time as possible to read books at the minute. It's obviously an essential part of being a writer but for some reason it just feels especially vital right now. I recently read over some old manuscripts of mine and I can see that my writing has changed- in some ways it is better now but there is also something that I think I've lost and it might be just because of circumstances (my life has changed a lot over the last 20 years) but it might also be because I'm not currently studying anything. Or it might not be anything like that. It might not be a loss at all, just a change. Anyway, in the interests of my own personal studies, I've been reading a lot more than usual. Here are some of the ones I've recently read.

Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro. Springtime is a great time to read this. You can read it in the sun breaks between showers and enjoy your own 'special nourishment' along with Klara. It's a really special book so if you're considering the fancy hardback editions that you can get from Indie bookshops, like The Secret Bookshelf, then I think it's definitely justified.

What We're Scared Of by Keren David. I loved this YA story. As an NI Protestant who only ever knew NI Protestants growing up, the current issues surrounding antisemitism in England are something I need to seek out information about because it's not something that otherwise touches me. Well, apart from what I learned as a young evangelical Christian, which is possibly not exactly how things are for people currently... Anyway, this is a great read and I also felt that I'd learned something about how it might feel to be young and Jewish in England right now. 

As If I Cared by Damian Gorman. You have to buy this from particular places, like No Alibis bookstore. It is wonderful. Damian's work and guidance (though workshops and some mentoring) over the years has been so important to my growth as a writer. The vicar from A Good Hiding was born in one of his workshops. Damian's poetry is beautiful and real, and this book comprises some of the pieces I have loved over the years as well as some autobiographical pieces and bits of scripts. Look him up on Youtube-there is a collection of his poetry there under the title 'Considerations'- you won't be sorry you did.

Full Term by Ellie Rose McKee. This is Ellie's debut YA novel and it begins the story of a young teenage mother as she tries to piece a family together. I really admire Ellie's work ethic- she is constantly writing and blogging, and now publishing- a really good person to follow on social media for writing encouragement/drive. I enjoyed this story and look forward to seeing what happens to Mya in part two of the trilogy.


Becca McCallum said...

I haven't been reading anything lately. I've just not had the concentration span to focus on anything. I'll start something and put it down, or flick through it without really taking anything in.

Shirley-Anne McMillan said...

I've had long periods like this too Brenda. I think a lot of people have felt this way in the last year as well. Have you tried audiobooks? They got me out of a real slump a couple of years ago. I can only listen when I'm driving or walking though- otherwise I fall asleep or my thoughts drift away.