Sheltering- A Reading List and Confession?

The Stand- by Stephen King is not on the list. I am, for the most part, a King fan, and enjoy his writing. Like a well-done horror or suspense movie should, he safely scares you. But The Stand is a dystopian landscape after Captain Trip (a deadly flu) decimates the population. King throws in a little Good vs. Evil with Randall Flagg. He reminds readers that the book is not about covid 19, but it is about a pandemic. I am not going to recommend any dystopia right now.

I have read The Dutch House by Ann Prachett and Greg Iles’ Mississippi Blood, the last in his Natchez Burning trilogy. Now for the confession. There have been a number of mysteries in my list but they were an easy read and kept my mind off more serious things. There was non-fiction, too, but some of it depressing and that’s not what is needed right now. I have almost finished The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas which it very much a book I’d likely set aside, even though it won the Commonwealth Writers Prize in 2009. I will admit to starting some books and not finishing…I think it’s my state of mind.

Since covid, I have read a variety of books that I might have read but might not have if I’d had better access to titles I’d reserved at my public library. I finished Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and am now reading HP and the Deathly Hallows. My grandson read the series a year ago and I thought I should see why he so enjoyed them. Well, Harry leads an exciting life and the plot moves right along. Glad I decided to follow my grandson’s lead.

I caved and bought The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel. It’s the last of her Tudor trilogy and takes concentration to read. There are so many characters, so many intrigues, and they deal with plague all the time. It’s not a major theme of the book, though, history and the character of Thomas Cromwell is. It’s fascinating how he, as a commoner, became one of the most powerful men in England and a trusted advisor to Henry V111. It’s also a total diversion from what is going on right now (at least for me). So even though in Alberta, we’re in phase one of opening up, reading is a way to keep safe and stay home.

A Noise Downstairs by Linwood Barclay

In his latest thriller, Linwood Barclay, has fashioned a protagonist who, until he stops to help a friend from work, has been leading a blameless ordinary life. He’s a college professor, not at Yale or Harvard; but still a responsible and good position. Then one night  on his way home he stops his car to help a colleague and it all goes south. His fellow professor, a known lady killer, has actually killed two women by slitting their throats. Our protagonist Paul Davis catches him trying to dispose of their bodies.

download

His friend has already murdered twice and comes for Paul with the shovel he has to bury the women. Eight months later, where the novel really begins, Paul Davis is alive but in recovery from the blow to the head. He has suffered a possible brain injury and is dealing with the aftermath of the vicious attack. Nightmares plague him and although his therapist Anna White, is helpful, he has not been able to return to work.

Then he starts to hear a typewriter at night when he and his wife and asleep. His colleague had made his female victims write apologies on a typewriter before he murder them. His wife has given him an old Underwood as a gift, something for his “think tank” aka den. Odd events keep turning up and Paul is driven to create bizarre theories to explain them. At last he doubts his own sanity.

More than this, would give away the plot which has plenty of twists, turns, and red herrings. After all, that’s what makes a thriller, well, thrilling. A Noise Downstairs provides the great entertainment, I’ve come to expect from Linwood Barclay, a New York Times bestselling Canadian author.

Nanowrimo- National Novel Writing Month

Fifty thousand words in 30 days. Since 1999, the first year of Nano, would-be novelists have accepted the challenge of writing a novel in November. Starting at midnight, 12:01 Nov. 1-midnight Nov. 30, authors set the goal of writing every day to create a minimum of 1, 667 words, and by doing so accumulate a 50,000 word novel.

So- it’s 2018 and I’m going to give it another try. My novel is one that I started and let dwindle to nothing last year (not a Nano novel.) I have thought about it and still like the story but not the way I had written it so Nano 2018 is a total re-boot, rewrite.

How am I doing? 1,831 words as of 8:30 AM yesterday. That made me behind 3,169 words already. Not an auspicious start. For me, working full time (and only for a month) interfered. I’m not used to regular work hours and I was tired. It’s an excuse, not a reason because people with full-time jobs, children, and way more responsibilities than I have, accomplish it. So I’m going with the idea, that I’ve made a beginning and I have “won” Nano once in 2016. Winning means I wrote 50,000 words. I had tried in 2013 and 2015. Those efforts stalled around the 25,000 word count.

Nano Novels have been traditionally published and some have become best sellers. I assume that it wasn’t without more hard work and a lot of editing. But as the saying goes, it’s impossible to edit something that doesn’t exist.

Participating in Nano can be a bit of fun and a lot of motivation. Updating your word count each day shows your progress and the numbers are translated to a graph. There a forums to join, write-ins (real and virtual), writing buddies and more.

If you’ve ever considered writing a book, this is one way to dive in.

Good Luck.

night-circus
Erin Morgenstern started The Night Circus in Nano and completed it over another two.