Archive - 2017

14 Curious Literary Terms (Part 2)
5 Recommended Non-Fiction Books
23 More Quotes about Writing
23 Quotes about Writing
My Favourite Authors: their best and worst
2017’s Most Anticipated Books

14 Curious Literary Terms (Part 2)

A while back I devoted a blog post to the subject of curious literary terms. This is the second and final instalment. The following literary terms are presented in alphabetical order.

Beast Fable — A narrative with speaking animals for characters. These didactic texts aim to teach us lessons about morality. George Orwell’s Animal Farm is one beast fable we are all familiar with.

Bowdlerise — A form of censorship that entails removing perceived indecent, immoral and/or pornographic words/passages from a narrative.

Eye Dialect — The use of unconventional spellings to signify conventional pronunciation. For example, ‘She shud of left by now’ in place of ‘She should have left by now.’

Oneiromancy — The belief that the future can be predicted by analysing dreams.

Onomatopoeia — Words that mimic sounds, e.g. a buzzing bee, or a crackling fire.

Ornamentalism —  An elaborate prose style in which the manner of narration is more important than its content. Vladimir Nabokov was an ardent devotee.

Pandect — A book purporting to contain all conceivable information on a given subject.

Portmanteau — A portmanteau combines two or more words to form a new word that expresses a single idea that is different from its component parts. Take brunch, a combination of two words, breakfast and lunch.

ProsopopoeiaA type of personification in which inanimate objects have the ability to speak.

Synecdoche — A device in which a part of a given thing represents the whole, or vice versa. If only I had some wheels (wheels are merely part of a car, but are representative of the whole).

Wanderjahr  A time in a character’s life when they diverge from their usual routine i.e. travelling, gap year etc.

Verbiage — Superfluous words in a sentence that detract from its impact.

Zeitgeist — The trends and fashions that represent the essence of a period in time.

Zoomorphic — Relating to a deity that is believed to take the form of an animal.


5 Recommended Non-Fiction Books

In recent years, in addition to my writing (3 novels to date) I have read a lot of fiction. But of late I have been indulging in some non-fiction reading for a change. After all variety is the spice of life, or so they say. The following 5 works of non-fiction intrigued me due to their subject matter, and they did not disappoint. Perhaps one or two might interest you too. Click on the links to read my reviews.


Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones (2015)

Narrated by a skilled storyteller, Dreamland is a meticulously researched, multi-faceted work about addiction, entrepreneurship and the perils posed by unrestrained corporate greed.

My Review: This award winning account of America’s opiate epidemic asserts that its origins are two-fold — the pharmaceutical industry and Mexican importation. In 1996 Purdue Pharma introduced its new opiate-containing, prescription pain-reliever, OxyContin…(more)


King Leopold’s Ghost by Adam Hochschild (1998)

King Leopold’s Ghost is a compelling and disturbing tale of corruption, greed and the injustices of colonialism, the echoes of which continue to resonate in the DR Congo to this day.

My Review: The Belgian King, Leopold II, had grown envious of his European neighbours’ portfolio of colonies, and longed for a colony that he could call his own. After much deliberation Leopold set his heart on a vast tract of land in central Africa. British explorer Henry Morton Stanley was…(more)


Stalin’s Englishman: The Lives of Guy Burgess by Andrew Lownie (2015)

Through fastidious research and extensive interviewing historian Lownie has created a compelling and revisionist account of the life of surely the most charismatic member of the ‘Cambridge Five’.

My Review: This biography of the notorious spy Guy Burgess recounts his life from birth through to premature death in Moscow, aged fifty-two in 1963. After spending his formative years at the naval college Dartmouth and Eton, Burgess attended Trinity College, Cambridge…(more)


The Voyeur’s Motel by Gay Talese (2016)

The Voyeur’s Motel is comprised of the confessions of Gerald Foos, a former Colorado motel owner and voyeur. It is a curious and compelling work, boasting a perceptive protagonist and an effective journalistic approach.

My Review: Foos’s lifelong obsession began in childhood, spying on his aunt through the window of her bedroom. It was his purchase in the 1960s of the Manor Park Motel in Aurora, Colorado that provided Foos with the perfect opportunity to indulge in his passion. Having constructed a viewing area…(more)


Nothing To Envy by Barbara Demick (2009)

Providing fascinating insights into North Korea, Nothing To Envy is an engrossing text that effortlessly captures the lives of its interviewed North Korean defector subjects. It is the best work of non fiction I have ever read.

My Review: Published in 2009, Nothing To Envy is a novelisation of interviews with various North Korean defectors, hailing from Chongjin, a bleak, northern industrial city, far from the country’s Potemkin village capital, Pyongyang. There is particular emphasis on the famine…(more)


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23 More Quotes about Writing

Here are 23 more quotes about writing, none of which have featured in my previous quote-dedicated blog posts. I hope these will amuse and inspire my fellow authors and readers.

It takes an awful lot of time to not write a book. — Douglas Adams

I wrote a few children’s books. Not on purpose. — Steven Wright

Cut out all these exclamation points. An exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke. — F. Scott Fitzgerald

You can fix anything but a blank page. — Nora Roberts

Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self. — Cyril Connolly

I have only made this letter longer because I have not had the time to make it shorter.Blaise Pascal

The beautiful part of writing is that you don’t have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon. — Robert Cormier

The road to hell is paved with adverbs. — Stephen King

Your manuscript is both good and original; but the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good. — Dr. Samuel Johnson

There’s not much to be said about the period except that most writers don’t reach it soon enough. — William Zinsser

No one is drawn to writing about being happy or feelings of joy. — Bret Easton Ellis

Only kings, presidents, editors, and people with tapeworms have the right to use the editorial “we.” — Mark Twain

A person who publishes a book appears willfully in the public eye with his pants down. — Edna St Vincent Millay

There is probably no hell for authors in the next world — they suffer so much from critics and publishers in this. — C. N. Bovee

If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor. — Edgar Rice Burroughs

My books are water; those of the great geniuses is wine. Everybody drinks water. — Mark Twain

The person who writes for fools is always sure of a large audience. — Arthur Schopenhauer

I have no taste for either poverty or honest labor, so writing is the only recourse left for me. — Hunter S. Thompson

Don’t classify me, read me. I’m a writer, not a genre. — Carlos Fuentes

You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club. — Jack London

A good book isn’t written, it’s rewritten. ― Phyllis A. Whitney

If writers were good businessmen, they’d have too much sense to be writers. — Irvin S. Cobb

Easy reading is damn hard writing. — Nathaniel Hawthorne


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23 Quotes about Writing

Here are 23 amusing and/or pertinent quotes about writing which might be of interest to my fellow authors and readers.

There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.W. Somerset Maugham

Write what you know. That should leave you with a lot of free time.Howard Nemerov

I hate writing, I love having written. Dorothy Parker

The scariest moment is always just before you start.Stephen King

The first draft of anything is shit.Ernest Hemingway

I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.Douglas Adams

Everybody does have a book in them, but in most cases that’s where it should stay.Christopher Hitchens

A bad review may spoil your breakfast, but you shouldn’t allow it to spoil your lunch.Kingsley Amis

I can write better than anybody who can write faster, and I can write faster than anybody who can write better.A. J. Liebling

Poetic license is not a license to scribe recklessly.C. Kennedy

A successful book is not made of what is in it, but what is left out of it. ― Mark Twain

A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.Richard Bach

If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.Stephen King

Don’t get it right – get it WRITTEN! Lee Child

If you are in difficulties with a book, try the element of surprise: attack it at an hour when it isn’t expecting it.H.G. Wells

Writing is the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money.Jules Renard

In the end, you have to just sit down, shut up, and write.Natalie Goldberg

Tomorrow may be hell, but today was a good writing day, and on the good writing days nothing else matters.Neil Gaiman

The pen is mightier than the sword and considerably easier to write with.Marty Feldman

I love being a writer. What I can’t stand is the paperwork.Peter De Vries

Easy writing makes hard reading.Ernest Hemingway

As for the adjective, when in doubt leave it out.Mark Twain

I think I did pretty well, considering I started out with nothing but a bunch of blank paper.Steve Martin

There will be a second instalment soon.


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Click here to see the 44 reviews & ratings for Necropolis on Goodreads.

My Favourite Authors: their best and worst

I have my favourite authors, but that is not to say that I like all of their books. This week’s post is dedicated to what in my humble opinion is the following 4 authors’ best and worst books. Click on the links to read my reviews:


Vladimir Nabokov(April 22nd, 1899 – July 2nd, 1977)

Admittedly I have only read a couple of books penned by the Russian-American author and entomologist.

My favourite: Lolita

The protagonist, Humbert Humbert, is an intellectual with an all-consuming craving for young girls, or nymphets as he refers to them. After his wife leaves him for another man, Humbert Humbert becomes a live-in tutor…(more)

My least favourite: Pnin

Despite having lived in America for many years, conservative and eccentric Russian professor Timofei Pnin has never fully grasped the subtleties of the English language…(more)


Chuck Palahniuk(Born: February 21st, 1962)  

I have read many of this iconic transgressive fiction author’s works. Whilst I remain an avid fan, the quality of his books varies markedly in my opinion.

My favourite: Fight Club

The protagonist, who remains nameless, is an insomniac leading a bland corporate existence, investigating accidents for a car company, whose only concern is profit…(more)

My least favourite: Doomed

Doomed is the sequel to Damned and part two of a proposed Dante inspired trilogy.  It sees the return of Damned’s protagonist – the plucky, post-life, plump, periphrastic, pubescent progeny of celebrity parents…(more)


Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn(December 11th, 1918 – August 3rd, 2008)

This controversial Russian author is one of my favourite writers. However…

My favourite: One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

Ivan Denisovich Shukhov is a former POW serving a 10 year term in a Gulag on the Kazakh steppe for being a spy. He is innocent. The book chronicles a single day of his existence…(more)

My least favourite: August 1914

Set in the years leading up to The Revolution, this monumental book is Solzhenitsyn’s interpretation of a turbulent period in his country’s history, beginning with the outbreak of World War I…(more)


Bret Easton Ellis (Born: March 7th, 1964)

Easton Ellis achieved cult status for his outstanding works of transgressive fiction. In this reader’s opinion his later books are not as good as his early efforts.

My favourite: American Psycho

American Psycho is a highly controversial novel that brought its young author Bret Easton Ellis instant fame.  The book is written from the perspective of a young Wall Street financier, Patrick Bateman…(more)

My least favourite: Lunar Park

Lunar Park is a mock memoir that begins with a parodic account of Bret Easton Ellis’s early fame. The young New York resident’s existence consists of endless parties, casual relationships, spiralling drug use...(more)



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Click here to see the 44 reviews & ratings for Necropolis on Goodreads.


2017’s Most Anticipated Books

My first blog post of the New Year is dedicated to some of the most anticipated books of 2017. I hope this will be of interest to my fellow authors and readers. Here are 9 of 2017’s most anticipated books (fiction only). Click on the book titles to find out more.


Difficult Women by Roxane Gay

Award-winning author and feminist Gay’s latest offering is a short story collection exploring American women’s experiences. It was released on January 3rd.

Genre: Feminism


Little Heaven by Nick Cutter

Due for release on January 10th, Little Heaven is a horror novel whose themes include redemption. It is set in New Mexico.

Genre: Horror


Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

When a country becomes embroiled in a civil war, a young couple escape through a portal into an uncertain future.

Genre: Political Fiction


Selection Day by Aravind Adiga

2008 Man Booker winner Adiga’s new novel is about two Indian, cricket-playing brothers. Social issues affecting the country are explored.

Genre: Literary Fiction


The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill

Set between the world wars, the story follows two orphans, one a piano virtuoso, the other a comic and dancer. Their dream is to open a circus.

Genre: Contemporary


4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster

The book is about a boy, Archibald Isaac Ferguson, who goes on to live four parallel and very different lives.

Genre: Contemporary


Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami

Iconic Japanese author Murakami’s latest effort is a humorous short story collection about men who live on their own.

Genre: Magical Realism


A Separation by Katie Kitamura

This aptly named novel sees a young woman separate from her cheating husband. What follows is considerable reflection on her part.

Genre: Literary Fiction


Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

In the author of The Girl on the Train latest effort two dead females are discovered at the bottom of a mysterious river.

Genre: Psychological/Suspense



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