When the real world is a dystopia, here’s what to read

A lot of people have been searching for a book to make sense of the world in the last week, and 1984 by George Orwell has soared up the charts. What people looking for tips may not realise is that things don’t work out so well for the main character, despite the fact that it’s one of the best-known dystopian novels of recent times. I wanted to recommend some alternative choices from women and writers of colour whose stories will strike a chord and who deserve to be read more widely. Continue reading “When the real world is a dystopia, here’s what to read”

Today Will Be Different: Maria Semple blog tour

Today Will Be Different is the new novel from Maria Semple, author of Where’d You Go, Bernadette and when I spotted early copies, it’s safe to say I was pretty unashamed about seeing if I could nab one as I was really keen to read it and share my thoughts with you.

I really enjoyed it, I think even more so than Maria’s previous novel, in part because of the ingenious way that the whole book plays out over the course of one day, albeit with the clever use of flashbacks, as the main character, Eleanor, encounters various objects or thinks about different people, especially her husband and sister.

I’m very pleased that Maria Semple has stopped by to answer my question about her choice to write in that way…


“When I wrote that first page and felt its electricity, that pretty much dictated the form of the novel. It told me I was writing about a woman who was waking up one morning determined to be her best self. And despite Eleanor setting the bar almost comically low for herself, her plans still go awry.”

As well as the fascinating way it’s written, I loved the wit and humour of Today Will Be Different, as well as the way that Semple creates the most extraordinary characters who are also completely human and relatable. I am desperate to watch the animated series the Elanor works on – it sounds like sassy My Little Ponies – and Timby, her son, is delightful. Her relationship with her sister is sometimes tender, sometimes tragic to the point of heartbreaking. There are also some wonderful slapstick moments – especially in a sculpture park – that have to be read to be believed…

Look out on my Twitter for a chance to RT and win a copy of the book, and have you been following the tour so far?

  • 18th August: Nina Stibbe
  • 25th August: Beth Book Blogger
  • 1st Sept: Notes From The Chair
  • 8th Sept: Amy Pirt
  • 15th Sept: Adventures With Words
  • 22nd Sept: Queens Park Books
  • 29th Sept: Alison Percival
  • 6th Oct: Marian Keyes

Description 

Eleanor Flood knows she’s a mess. But today will be different. Today she will shower and put on real clothes. She will attend her yoga class after dropping her son, Timby, off at school.

She’ll see an old friend for lunch. She won’t swear. She will initiate sex with her husband, Joe. But before she can put her modest plan into action – life happens. For today is the day Timby has decided to pretend to be ill to weasel his way into his mother’s company.

It’s also the day surgeon Joe has chosen to tell his receptionist – but not Eleanor – that he’s on vacation. And just when it seems that things can’t go more awry, a former colleague produces a relic from the past – a graphic memoir with pages telling of family secrets long buried and a sister to whom Eleanor never speaks.

YA Podcast: Recommending great BAME YA

This month, Kate and Darran recommend great YA books by BAME authors, and chat about the politics behind why it’s important. It’s a bit of a political episode, as it goes, given recent events around the tragic deaths of Alton Sterling, Philandro Castile and the following protests in the US, and the rise in incidents of racist abuse in the UK following the EU referendum. We wanted to use the platform we have to champion BAME authors, and some books which have BAME characters as part of a realistic diverse cast. If you click ‘read more’, you can listen, click through to buy any of the books we mention, and there are some other positive actions you can take too. Continue reading “YA Podcast: Recommending great BAME YA”