Smart Quill Editorial About the Editor

Never-Ending Summer Reading

Posted on December 24th, 2015

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I have said it before. The best thing about summer is reading… Worn paperbacks, pages filled with sand, or even, falling apart in the sun. Lolling in a pool with your book propped on the side. Or placed over your face as a customised hat. Summer = reading for sure.

This year, I determined to take Smart Quill to some far off places – looking for new writers, different voices, and researching cultural narratives. I have had a rather perpetual summer as a result, and an excellent excuse to catch up “must-reads” (when I am not editing, of course).

So here is what I read, and here is what I thought:

1. Euphoria by Lily King – two words: read it. It’s short, and perfect. Dual male and female strands, based obliquely on the rather incredible story of lauded female anthropologist Margaret Mead.

2. Moby Dick by Herman Melville – oh dear. I just could not lose myself in this. The prose is so gargantuan, it really only served to alienate me. At the risk of sounding like a philistine in the face of great literature, no thanks.

3.  Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts – Gregory certainly knows how to spin a tale. I am not sure how much of this I believed was “autobiography”, but it’s an enjoyable and nuanced whirlwind through Bombay nonetheless.

4.   The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan – this won the Book Prize in 2014. But honestly, I found it a little facile. Flanagan is the most incredible writer and this is beautiful in parts… But not his best.

5. The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad – it’s a powerful insight into Afghanistan, but rather thin, and political agenda of the narrator was heavy. I’d rather have seen more facts, more anecdotes, in order to build the story.

6. The Martian by Andy Weir – I couldn’t put it down! The light tone contrasts exactly with the enormity of the plot, and the technical detail is WOW.

7. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr –  the Pulitzer Prize winner for 2015. And rightly so. This is magnificent, with a deft narrative balance between a girl in France and a boy in Germany during WWII.


Book Club Summer: Stoner

Posted on August 31st, 2015

Ending the summer on a high… Possibly the best book I’ve read in years, and an undiscovered classic: Stoner by John Williams.


Book Club Summer: Possession

Posted on July 31st, 2015

Reading by a fountain near a hill… I’m in Palm Springs talking about Possession by A S Byatt – one of those books that has been on my list for years.


Book Club Summer: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

Posted on June 23rd, 2015

Summer means reading! The next three book clubs will cover some excellent holiday choices. First up, a surprising novel which defines the meaning of narrative twist…


Book Club Style: The Miniaturist

Posted on April 23rd, 2015

That’s right, the Smart Quill Book Club continues… One of the most lauded debuts in recent years, this month I am discussing The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton.


Book Club Style: A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing

Posted on March 11th, 2015

Running away with Book Club now, here is this month’s instalment. A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride. Described as: “Challenging. Shattering.”


Book Club Style: Gone Girl

Posted on February 26th, 2015

A smash hit this month for Book Club… Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.


Book Club Style: The God of Small Things

Posted on April 29th, 2014

A book that never leaves you; this Book Club covers The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy.


Book Club Style: Heartburn

Posted on January 22nd, 2014

Next up for the Smart Quill Book Club is Heartburn by Nora Ephron.


Book Club Style: Game of Thrones

Posted on November 10th, 2013

Voila the new series of Smart Quill Editorial videos… It’s an online book club, but focussing on the unique style of bestselling authors. First up (and unsurprisingly given that I have become increasingly obsessed) it’s Game of Thrones by George R R Martin.