Several days late. Sorry!
- It’s been two weeks since I’ve written anything here, which is mostly because of training for my new job at the gastropub round the corner. We opened to the public on Wednesday, and I’ve been working floor every night since (except for tonight). So far I’ve spilled two and a half pints, but I’ve also acquired a nickname from the chefs (“Dave”, for reasons unknown), so I guess it’s going pretty well. It’s especially interesting to be on the receiving end of the British attitude towards tips. (In a nutshell: almost no one tips, although we’ve had a few very generous tables.)
- Tana French is one of those authors I’ve been wanting to read for aaaages, and it all came to a head last week when Ella Risbridger noted on Twitter that her back catalogue was 99p per book on Kindle, as a promotion for her newest release. I bought all five of the Dublin Murder Squad books and have been absolutely ADORING them. The first two (In the Woods and The Vanishing) are, I think, better than the third (Faithful Place) and maybe the fourth, which I’m halfway through now (The Secret Place), but they’re all amazing. French’s prose is stunning—literary, descriptive and elegant—and her plotting is phenomenal. I especially love her analytical approach to characterisation; Ella’s description of her as “like Donna Tartt without the pretentiousness” is spot-on.
- My own novel is nearly to 50,000 words. I’m so close to finishing section two that I can actually see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’ll have to go back to sections one and three, after that, but it’ll be amazing to have a whole chunk of the first draft finished.
- Speaking of my novel: I’ve created a website for it! There’ll be periodic updates there as well as playlists, blog posts about the writing process, sneak previews, etc. If you’re at all interested in this thing I’ve spent the past few months coyly mentioning, head over there and check it out.
- The London Literature Festival at the Southbank Centre today hosted a panel on Chinese sci-fi, entitled “Living in Future Times”. The two authors featured were Cixin Liu, whose The Three-Body Problem won this year’s Hugo Award, and Xiaolu Guo, author of Baileys-longlisted I Am China and A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers, as well as of the book-turned-film UFO In Her Eyes. Liu is a very big-picture kind of guy, full of thoughtful assertions about the potential of science fiction to bring people together across races, nations and creeds. Guo is fiery and deeply intelligent, a tri-lingual trained filmmaker whose take on sci-fi (and literature in general) is distinctly, though discreetly, feminist. It was a hugely enjoyable talk, and I’m definitely going to buy both Liu’s trilogy (of which The Three-Body Problem is the first volume) and Guo’s books.
Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts is hosted by Christine at Bookishly Boisterous: go check out the other posts!