Category Archives: Book reading

The Joy of Author Talks

On Wednesday I took a trip out to the far reaches of Fife, to the wee town of Auchtermuchty. I think I can even roll my ch’s and pronounce this lovely name correctly. It is set in beautiful, I was going to say rolling countryside, making the journey from where I live quite enjoyable.

If you are an author and you have never given a talk, I can highly recommend it. Around thirty ladies and gentlemen were so appreciative and attentive, that it was a pleasure experience.

My talk this time was ‘early female aviators.’ When I say early I mean around WW1, and even before. I end this talk by showing an amateur video (taken by myself) of clips of the old aircraft at The Shuttleworth Collection, Bedfordshire, which I have already shared with you a couple of time on this blog.

A virtual Tour of The Shuttleworth Collection

which has a vivid description of an extra special air display we attended in 2012.

…and here’s a little video on my Facebook Page.

I hope I came a long way in redressing the balance in the knowledge of these daring, invincible and determined ladies of the past, who overcame prejudices which we would find hard to imagine today.

Anyway, I would like to thank the folks of Auchtermuchty for their warm welcome, as too was my talk at Cupar Probus a few weeks earlier.

One wonderful thing about giving an author talk is, if it is successful, you invariably meet someone who invites you to a different venue at a later date.

Ce La Vie!

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Filed under Author Diana Jackson, Book reading, Events, Marketing your novel, Talks

Diana’s Winter Book Review 10 ~ Little Wing by Freya North

Click on the cover picture for Amazon UK

Why did you choose this book?

Waterstones in #Kirkcaldy had become my regular haunt of mine over the winter. I am reading more paperbacks, rather than books on Kindle, because of my RSI problem, which I am managing relatively well now.

I was browsing on Waterstone’s ‘Buy 1 Get 1 Half Price‘ tables and stumbled upon ‘Little Wing‘ by Freya North. I found the title intriguing, followed by the name of the author ‘North’, and wondered if it is Freya’s real name. Then it was the cover which spoke immediately of Western Scotland, or even the Outer Hebrides. I was not wrong. On reading the blurb next, it pointed in that direction. The novel was clearly set in three different time zones and just looked my kind of book.

Did I feel empathy to any particular character?

I felt particular empathy to Nell (2005) who was working in a café, where the employees needed support in order to fulfil their amazing roles. I am a great believer in folks being allowed, with loving and caring guidance, to reach their potential. Nell was an extra special person and I identified with her patience and fondness for her charges, but also with her at the moment when her life was ‘turned upside down’ by a discovery about herself. As far as I know this hasn’t happened to me, but I warmed to her quest and also to her eventual feeling of belonging in the Outer Hebrides.

Is there a lasting thought or memory from the book which remains with you long after the novel is finished?

Having visited Harris and Lewis, and also having relocated to Scotland from Bedfordshire myself, I can visualise Nell and even Florence (1969) and their sense of belonging to what might appear initially to be a bleak and distant place. I can easily imagine the girls walking on the machair, along the sandy beaches, picking up pebbles and shells and watching the seals. I can feel the warmth of the folk she met and their desire to make her feel welcome; one of them even.

It was a great book and I might even keep it and read it again one day, (which is an unusual high accolade from me) maybe when we are travelling further north once more.

Highly Recommended.

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Filed under Book reading, Book reviews, Book Shops, Scotland

Diana’s Christmas Book Review (9) ~ The Christmas Bookshop by Jenny Colgan

Why did you choose this book?

I hardly ever buy Christmas books, expecting a possible light romance type read. I might be wrong of course. Anyway, I picked Jenny Colgan’s book up in Waterstones and needed a lighter read having just recovered from Covid. It was about a bookshop too. The setting was in Edinburgh at Christmas and since Edinburgh has become our adopted city since moving to Fife, what more could I want?

Did I feel empathy to any particular character?

Carmen reminded me of myself in several ways. Her lack of confidence; her ability to get on with all manner of folks; her way of throwing herself into a challenge with all her energy and enthusiasm, which doesn’t always work, but in this case worked its magic beautifully.

Is there a lasting thought or memory from the book which remains with you long after the novel is finished?

So many! What a perfect time to read it.

  • Jenny C’s Thomas Hardy-esque way of naming her characters. Oke reminded me of Gabrielle Oak; Blair ~ the flashy one who rarely showed his genuine side; Skylar ~ well, she’s up in the clouds; and of course Carmen ~ good Karma and all of that.
  • I digress. I am left with magical descriptions of Edinburgh at Christmas, with its fairytale castle on the hill, its lights and higgledy piggledy oldy worlde shops, with their glowing decorated windows for the festive season.
  • The Ormiston Oak. Yes, this is the picture remaining in my mind, but I won’t spoil the book for you by telling you why!

I couldn’t get to sleep on Christmas Day eve, having switched the light off just before the last few pages (and probably over indulged in the alcoholic beverages which is unlike me) and so when I got up in the middle of the night to have a mint tea I read the end, but then read it again on Boxing Day!

If you are looking for a ‘feel good’ factor in your reading and a fairly light read, then I highly recommend The Christmas Bookshop by Jenny Colgan!

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Filed under Book reading, Book reviews, Book Shops