Reading For Pleasure in 2022: the books I read in March

What have you been reading this month, then?

On Writing by Stephen King

No, this isn’t a horror story.

There’s no blood.

No gore.

No suspense.

Just really great advice on how to write from one of the world’s most successful writers, Stephen King.

Do I have delusions of grandeur that I’m going to become a bestselling author after reading this book?

No!

I tried writing a novel once, during NaNoWriMo way back in 2017, but didn’t finish it.

I have dabbled in short stories, but my main reason for reading this book is because I teach creative writing classes.

Yes, you read that correctly. I teach creative writing.

I know; I can hardly believe it myself!

Handily, Stephen King has loads of wise words and top tips for creative writers which I can pass on to my students if needed.

This is a fascinating blend of memoir and writing advice. King writes about his childhood and early years of being a writer, charting his struggles and then success of getting Carrie published, as well as the inspiration behind some of his stories.

I actually found the memoir part of the book more satisfying than the writing advice, but regardless, this is a precious glimpse into the life and mind of one of our most gifted writers.

Last Lesson by James Goodhand

Wow. What a book.

This had been sitting on my TBR pile for a long time, and I’m so glad I finally picked it up.

How can I sum the story up without giving too much away?

It’s about a teenager, Ollie Morcombe, who is fast approaching his last day at school. He lives with his grandfather because his mother has mental health problems, and he’s having a tough time with bullies at school.

As he gets closer to the last day of school Ollie comes up with a plan. He’s going to take a homemade pipe bomb into school and blow his classmates up.

Will he go through with his plan? Or will anybody be able to stop him before he goes too far?

‘A sensitive, gripping book about mental health and masculinity’ – Samuel Pollen, author of The Year I Didn’t Eat

The story had me hooked from the first page, and two thirds of the way through it made me cry.

I was afraid of how it was going to end, but I needn’t have worried. This is a fully satisfying story.

Everything Under by Daisy Johnson

Here’s the blurb:

It’s been sixteen years since Gretel last saw her mother, half a lifetime to forget her childhood on the canals. But a phone call will soon reunite them, and bring those wild years flooding back: the secret language that Gretel and her mother invented; the strange boy, Marcus, living on the boat that final winter; the creature said to be underwater, swimming ever closer.

In the end there will be nothing for Gretel to do but to wade deeper into their past, where family secrets and aged prophesies will all come tragically alive again.

This story sucks you in from the very first page and refuses to let go. It takes you back in time, through muddled memories, fragmented families, isolation, fear and fate.

The book is even more engaging for me because it is set in and around Oxford; along the familiar waterways and in the city.

How would I sum up this book in one word?

Unsettling.

Stay tuned to find out what I’m going to read in April!

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