What are you reading at the moment? Recommendations welcome

What's the point of a traditional publishing deal, anyway?

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I just finished reading "The Atlas Six" by Olivie Blake. It's a Fantasy novel.

From Wikipedia: It is the first of a trilogy and follows six powerful young magic users who have the chance to join the secretive Alexandrian Society. The novel was originally self-published via Kindle in early 2020 before it was acquired by Tor Books after a seven-way auction.

A 7-way auction that Tor won. (proving chaos runs wild in the universe.)

The reviews show the book is super polarizing. Some LOVE it, and other are cursing it's existance. I was on the fence for a lot of it. The characters are unusual, and get more interesting as we go, but it was the magic system that I found the most interesting. Some magic stuff that I hadn't read before. But I seem to be cursed with reading plot-less books. The plot was so wafer thin it made me want to cry. Such a cool premise, and had a lot going for it, but like, DO SOMETHING. Ugh. (To be fair, some stuff does happen, but those moments are too few and far between.)

I won't be reading the next book in the series. I kind of want to know what happens, but not badly enough to wade through more plot-less meandering blah blah to find out.

I really need to find an engrossing, well paced and plotted book. Have started few new ones (one audio and one paperback)... here's hoping.
 
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Recently discovered Anthony Horowitz's Detective Hawthorne series, starting with The Word is Murder and The Sentence is Death. Horowitz (the screenwriter of Poirot, Foyle's War and the author of Alex Rider, The House of Silk etc.) puts himself in the stories like a Dr Watson to Sherlock Holmes, and treats the reader to many fascinating writer insights as well as delivering compelling detective stories. To suspend belief further his books don't have the usual disclaimer in them 'This book is a work of fiction...' so you are left wondering if they might be true. Two books read in a fortnight, I'm now starting the third one A Line to Kill set at a literary festival.
 
I just finished reading "The Atlas Six" by Olivie Blake. It's a Fantasy novel.

From Wikipedia: It is the first of a trilogy and follows six powerful young magic users who have the chance to join the secretive Alexandrian Society. The novel was originally self-published via Kindle in early 2020 before it was acquired by Tor Books after a seven-way auction.

A 7-way auction that Tor won. (proving chaos runs wild in the universe.)

The reviews show the book is super polarizing. Some LOVE it, and other are cursing it's existance. I was on the fence for a lot of it. The characters are unusual, and get more interesting as we go, but it was the magic system that I found the most interesting. Some magic stuff that I hadn't read before. But I seem to be cursed with reading plot-less books. The plot was so wafer thin it made me want to cry. Such a cool premise, and had a lot going for it, but like, DO SOMETHING. Ugh. (To be fair, some stuff does happen, but those moments are too few and far between.)

I won't be reading the next book in the series. I kind of want to know what happens, but not badly enough to wade through more plot-less meandering blah blah to find out.

I really need to find an engrossing, well paced and plotted book. Have started few new ones (one audio and one paperback)... here's hoping.
I remember reading about it as a self-publishing TikTok win story. But my gut feeling was it wouldnt have legs. There is that awful truth. Trad publishing still polishes writers and we all could use a bit of a makeover before we get to readers.
 
I'm still working my way thru Ruth Rendell. Her voice, plots still inspire me with awe. I've yet to meet a character of hers that I like. But nonetheless they compel me. There is a lesson there. I see why the crown made her a baroness for her writing skills.

But this is the book I wanted to post. It was on the bargain table. Nonfiction. I'm glad I picked it up.

Pete Ross, "A Tomb With a View." , The stories and glories of graveyards.

It's a surprising and touching collection of essays about how we deal with what remains of us. From the war dead still remembered on a remote Scottish island, to a robins nest in a medieval skull. Hamlet would've approved.
 
I remember reading about it as a self-publishing TikTok win story. But my gut feeling was it wouldnt have legs. There is that awful truth. Trad publishing still polishes writers and we all could use a bit of a makeover before we get to readers.
But then why didn't Tor do that makeover to this one before publishing? Add in a little plot maybe? I think there might be another awful truth that the bidding war was more about cashing in on her following, rather than the story?? :face-with-monocle:
 
But then why didn't Tor do that makeover to this one before publishing? Add in a little plot maybe? I think there might be another awful truth that the bidding war was more about cashing in on her following, rather than the story?? :face-with-monocle:
I gave your post a bravo, but our emojis need one to commend insight.

@Jonny Is there a way for Litopians to recommend adding emojis to the pictorial arsenal?
 
After reading the wondaful Piranesi a few months ago, I just started Susanna Clarke's first novel - Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell.

Despite it being reasonably contemporary in terms of publication date (2004) It's a long book and one where the modern devotee of writing rules would be appalled by its pacing which is slower than that of a particularly lazy snail.

Nevertheless, it is a thing of utter joy and beauty.

The writing is brilliant and the characterisation, world building, sense of place, atmosphere and story are mesmerising. I'm about a third of the way in and this might just be my book of the year, despite several other strong contenders - not least Piranesi.

The more I widen my reading horizons, the more convinced I become that so-called craft rules are utterly irrelevant nonsense peddled online by those who feel it incumbent upon themselves to pontificate on craft in an attempt to convince others they are informed and relevant.

It comes down to this (IMHO :)) If the writing is good (in this case stellar) and engaging, then that's all that really matters.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
 
After reading the wondaful Piranesi a few months ago, I just started Susanna Clarke's first novel - Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell.

Despite it being reasonably contemporary in terms of publication date (2004) It's a long book and the modern devotee of writing rules would be appalled by its pacing, which is slower than that of a particularly lazy snail.

Nevertheless, it is a thing of utter joy and beauty.

The writing is brilliant and the characterisation, world building, sense of place, atmosphere and story are mesmerising. I'm about a third of the way in and this might just be my book of the year, despite several other strong contenders - not least Piranesi.

The more I widen my reading horizons, the more convinced I become that so-called craft rules are utterly irrelevant nonsense peddled by those who feel it incumbent upon themselves to pontificate on craft in an attempt to make themselves feel they are informed and relevant

It comes down to this (IMHO :)) If the writing is good (in this case stellar) and engaging, then that's all that really matters.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
You've just sold it to me, sounds really wonderful :)
 
After reading the wondaful Piranesi a few months ago, I just started Susanna Clarke's first novel - Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell.

Despite it being reasonably contemporary in terms of publication date (2004) It's a long book and one the modern devotee of writing rules would be appalled by its pacing,, which is slower than that of a particularly lazy snail.

Nevertheless, it is a thing of utter joy and beauty.

The writing is brilliant and the characterisation, world building, sense of place, atmosphere and story are mesmerising. I'm about a third of the way in and this might just be my book of the year, despite several other strong contenders - not least Piranesi.

The more I widen my reading horizons, the more convinced I become that so-called craft rules are utterly irrelevant nonsense peddled online by those who feel it incumbent upon themselves to pontificate on craft in an attempt to convince others they are informed and relevant.

It comes down to this (IMHO :)) If the writing is good (in this case stellar) and engaging, then that's all that really matters.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
I read it a long time ago and loved it. It's on my must read again list.
 
After reading the wondaful Piranesi a few months ago, I just started Susanna Clarke's first novel - Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell.

Despite it being reasonably contemporary in terms of publication date (2004) It's a long book and one the modern devotee of writing rules would be appalled by its pacing,, which is slower than that of a particularly lazy snail.

Nevertheless, it is a thing of utter joy and beauty.

The writing is brilliant and the characterisation, world building, sense of place, atmosphere and story are mesmerising. I'm about a third of the way in and this might just be my book of the year, despite several other strong contenders - not least Piranesi.

The more I widen my reading horizons, the more convinced I become that so-called craft rules are utterly irrelevant nonsense peddled online by those who feel it incumbent upon themselves to pontificate on craft in an attempt to convince others they are informed and relevant.

It comes down to this (IMHO :)) If the writing is good (in this case stellar) and engaging, then that's all that really matters.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
I loved Jonathan Strange and Mr Norell, the BBC adaptation is really good as well. Didn’t it take her ten years to write? I’m not surprised as it’s so rich and complex. Also, her The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories is wonderful. Your post has made me want to read them both again . Agree totally about ‘craft’ rules, so many great books subvert the so called rules.
 
I loved Jonathan Strange and Mr Norell, the BBC adaptation is really good as well. Didn’t it take her ten years to write? I’m not surprised as it’s so rich and complex. Also, her The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories is wonderful. Your post has made me want to read them both again . Agree totally about ‘craft’ rules, so many great books subvert the so called rules.
Yes, ten years in the writing. I'm not surprised. Its prose is meticulous in its authenticity. it really dazzles on every page. Wordsmithery on steroids.

Have you read Piranesi? It's tremendous too. Same quality in all departments.
 
Yes, ten years in the writing. I'm not surprised. Its prose is meticulous in its authenticity. it really dazzles on every page. Wordsmithery on steroids.

Have you read Piranesi? It's tremendous too. Same quality in all departments.
Totally agree about the prose. No, I’ve not read Piranesi, but I’ve added to my wish list. For some unknown reason I didn’t realise the same author had written it. When I read the blurb earlier, it sounds so interesting and intriguing.
 
I gave your post a bravo, but our emojis need one to commend insight.

@Jonny Is there a way for Litopians to recommend adding emojis to the pictorial arsenal?
I always use the dance emjoi when I'm not sure which one to use! haha. Just figured it's joyful.
Maybe the :owl: would work for insight? Then again, might be confusing as even though it's a cliché, it's marked "owl" not "wise"....
 
Yes, ten years in the writing. I'm not surprised. Its prose is meticulous in its authenticity. it really dazzles on every page. Wordsmithery on steroids.

Have you read Piranesi? It's tremendous too. Same quality in all departments.

On your compelling recommendation, I just bought Piranesi (on a 77% off sale in Audible for the next 2 days!) and I will get Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell when my next monthly credit appears. That one is close to $50 at the sale price. Eek.

Thanks for the recommend, and the other seconded recommends. :)
 
I always use the dance emjoi when I'm not sure which one to use! haha. Just figured it's joyful.
Maybe the :owl: would work for insight? Then again, might be confusing as even though it's a cliché, it's marked "owl" not "wise"....
An owl would work. Minerva was the soul of wisdom. Alas, I've no owl, and if you saw me dancing in stilettos and a tight dress, you would not feel like rejoicing.
 
On your compelling recommendation, I just bought Piranesi (on a 77% off sale in Audible for the next 2 days!) and I will get Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell when my next monthly credit appears. That one is close to $50 at the sale price. Eek.

Thanks for the recommend, and the other seconded recommends. :)

I'm excited! @LJ Beck you just gave me an idea. They can be my two audible credits. They sound like books to savour :)
 
On your compelling recommendation, I just bought Piranesi (on a 77% off sale in Audible for the next 2 days!) and I will get Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell when my next monthly credit appears. That one is close to $50 at the sale price. Eek.

Thanks for the recommend, and the other seconded recommends.
I audiobooked Piranesi (@Vagabond Heart put me onto that) and am doing the same on JS&MN (Audible). The reading of both is superb. Chiwetel Ejiofor's narration in Piranesi makes it so immersive for me. Similarly, Simon Preeble is fantastic in JS&MN.

Hope you enjoy them.

Wow! Books in your region are expensive :eek:
 
Maybe Tor figured it was good as it gets and had her start the sequel. It's kind of the good news , bad news trope. The good news is you get published and make money. The bad news is you are typecast and dont learn to write. Say what you will Colleen Hoover's books are smooth and have good plots.
They offer a lot of freebies at Tor. Novellettes and short stories. It does seem to be the trend. Testing new writers to see if they can hook readers?


Read hundreds of free short stories and novelettes at Tor.com
 
I’m reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone by LainI Taylor and wow it’s fantastic. The mc is fab, engaging, likeable and edgy. The writing is lyrical and the setting beautiful. The creature characters are interesting, amusing and intriguing. Love it
 
I’m reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone by LainI Taylor and wow it’s fantastic. The mc is fab, engaging, likeable and edgy. The writing is lyrical and the setting beautiful. The creature characters are interesting, amusing and intriguing. Love it

My daughter has read the trilogy. I must get onto it.

Reading Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell and Neverwhere. Such different voices!
 
I’m reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone by LainI Taylor and wow it’s fantastic. The mc is fab, engaging, likeable and edgy. The writing is lyrical and the setting beautiful. The creature characters are interesting, amusing and intriguing. Love it
Oh, read the rest of the trilogy too. It's just fab! It's a trilogy I'll defo read again. Absolutely hooky!
 
My daughter has read the trilogy. I must get onto it.

Reading Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell and Neverwhere. Such different voices!
It’s brilliant . I will definitely read the other two.

I loved Jonathan Strange and Mr Norell. The BBC adaptation is pretty, not sure if it’s available in your region. Not read Neverwhere, who’s it by?
 

What's the point of a traditional publishing deal, anyway?

Blog Post: I Miss Your Smile

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