The Librarian’s Cellar Book of the Week: The View From the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman

There is something for everyone between the pages of this much quoted book. Passionate tributes to his favourite writers, some of them his very good friends. Entertaining essays, keynote speeches, personal experiences (a rather sobering piece from 2014: So Many Ways to Die in Syria) and throughout, praise for comic books, illustrators, artists and some lovely references to family. For readers of classic horror, there are tributes that ought to make you want to revisit the likes of Poe and Stoker. In his introduction to a 2004 edition of Poe’s Selected Poems and Tales, Gaiman suggests, ‘Read the poems aloud. Read the stories aloud. Feel the way the words work in your mouth, the way the syllables bounce and roll and drive and repeat, or almost repeat’. And on Stoker’s Dracula, in an introduction to an annotated 2008 version by Leslie S. Klinger, Gaiman writes that ‘First you read it casually, and then, once you’ve put it away, you might find yourself, almost against your will, wondering about the things in the crevices of the novel, things hinted at, things implied.’ On writing, take this insightful thought from his introduction to a 2008 edition of James Thurber’s The 13 Clocks, ‘When I was a young writer, I liked to imagine that I was paying someone for every word I wrote, rather than being paid for it; it was a fine way to discipline myself only to use the words I needed.’ A mini masterclass right there! The View from the Cheap Seats in a wonderful gem, filled with perceptive thoughts and inspiration. Don’t pass it by!

 

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Caroline E Farrell is a writer, filmmaker and blogger. She is the author of the novel, LADY BETH and has written and directed the short film FRAMED (2018). She has also written and co-produced the short films IN RIBBONS (2015) and ADAM (2013).

The Librarian’s Cellar Book of The Week: Apple of My Eye by Claire Allan

Claire Allan’s latest novel is a quick and compelling read – for all the twisted reasons that you can imagine. Eli is a nurse working in a hospice. She is expecting her first child, feeling unwell and filled with doubts about her ability to love and care for her new baby. However, she has great support from work colleagues, a loving husband, and a very caring mother, so what could possibly go wrong? Everything, it seems as she begins to receive mysterious messages hinting that Martin, her husband, may be cheating on her. In her vulnerable state, and despite his vehement denials of any wrong-doing, Eli begins to doubt Martin… no spoilers here, but the sinister element of gaslighting takes this thriller to a chilling conclusion.

 

Published by Avon | 2019

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Caroline E Farrell is a writer, filmmaker and blogger. She is the author of the novel, LADY BETH and has written and directed the short film FRAMED (2018). She has also written and co-produced the short films IN RIBBONS (2015) and ADAM (2013).

 

The Librarian’s Cellar Book of The Week: Changeling by Matt Wesolowski

Scott King investigates the disappearance of a seven-year-old child, Alfie Marsden, missing for over thirty years. His journey draws him into the realm of folk horror, dark superstitions and encounters with a myriad of strange and troubled souls. This was a difficult book to put down. Told in the format of alternating narrative and investigative radio recordings, a chilling story unfolds that will not fail to creep you out. Wesolowski’s tale solidifies the theory that human beings are far more frightening than anything supernatural, but evil is evil, so be warned!

Published by Orenda Books | 2019

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Caroline E Farrell is a writer, filmmaker and blogger. She is the author of the novel, LADY BETH and has written and directed the short film FRAMED (2018). She has also written and co-produced the short films IN RIBBONS (2015) and ADAM (2013).

The Librarians Cellar Book of the Week: Notes To Self by Emilie Pine

What a refreshing collection of essays! Written with such honesty on her very personal experiences of miscarriage and infertility, her relationship with her alcoholic father, Pine also gives us an insight into her experiences as a young teen, finding her way, breaking rules and boundaries – and learning the hard way who she really is. Her writing is unsentimental and thankfully, never apologetic, and her journey, like many unwritten women’s lives, is filled with a messy complexity that we can identify with. This is feminist writing that does not whack you over the head with how things should be, but instead, in relatable language, it conveys how things really are. Make sure you have plenty of time to sit and read before you open this book, you won’t want to stop turning the pages until you reach the very last one!

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Caroline E Farrell is a writer, filmmaker and blogger. She is the author of the novel, LADY BETH and has written and directed the short film FRAMED (2018). She has also written and co-produced the short films IN RIBBONS (2015) and ADAM (2013).

The Librarian’s Cellar Book of The Week: How to Be Invisible

‘A book of lyrics is a strange beast’, begins author David Mitchell in his introduction to Kate’s collection of lyrics, ‘How to Be Invisible’. This book is simply presented in a classic black cloth-bound edition that feels so good to hold, and even better to peer in amongst the pages. And for sure, it is a strange beast. With no definable arrangement, the words sans music take on a new life, and perhaps, new meaning. Keeping this collection by the bedside to choose a page at random is to rediscover Kate’s whimsical use of language and intriguing metaphor – like revisiting an old friend you haven’t seen for quite a while, yet picking up easily where you left off, an instant connection. ‘Oh let me have it, let me grab your soul away.’ One to be coveted.

 

How to be Invisible | Kate Bush | Faber & Faber Ltd | 2018

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Caroline E Farrell is a writer, filmmaker and blogger. She is the author of the novel, LADY BETH and has written and directed the short film FRAMED (2018). She has also written and co-produced the short films IN RIBBONS (2015) and ADAM (2013).

The Librarian’s Cellar: December Reading

Finding time to read in December proved challenging. Books were in abundance, as were visits to bookstores. However, as the end of the busy month drew to a close, and dark evenings invited comfort food and copious glasses of wine, I decided to ignore my To Be Read tower and just indulge in the material I was most drawn to, which turned out to be personal biographies. Quick reads! I think all writers are interested in the lives of others, after all, and apart from our own experiences, isn’t that where we draw most of our characterisation from?

Here are four that kinda-sorta blew my mind!

 

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What a story? What a life for this woman, born into a closed off, survivalist family in the mountains of Idaho, where brutality, and lets face it, serious child neglect were commonplace. Westover seems very forgiving of her family, even when she describes the extremist perspectives of her bi-polar father, and the violence meted out to her by her own brother, which is difficult to fathom. However, her personal journey into education and self-realisation is riveting. I couldn’t put this book down!

 

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Next time you think the rich and famous have it all, think again! Melanie’s story weaves back and forth between her childhood, her fame as member of the Spice Girls, and her ten-year, abusive marriage. This is an honest, sometimes uncomfortable account of her worst days, and you have to commend her for highlighting her very personal and painful plight. If this book helps even one abused woman to reflect on her situation and get the hell out of it, then my hat is off to Melanie. Job done.

 

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I recently watched (practically in tears) DAVID CASSIDY: The Last Session. While shooting the documentary, David was gravely ill, though didn’t seem to be aware of just how serious his situation was. It was difficult to watch it, but compelling just the same. Hence, when I came across his memoir, I was instantly hooked. Cassidy wasn’t always taken as seriously as perhaps he should have been as a talented writer, musician and actor, dealt a life-time of serious highs, but also some devastating blows that would ultimately lead to his premature death. Definitely worth a read.

 

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An accomplished song writer, Lily’s book is honest and in parts, quite funny. However, it is also a serious and very personal telling of her childhood and what was really going on behind the scenes during her rise to fame and the years since. She is still so young, but obviously an old soul. What struck me most about her writing is the obvious maturity that she has, and her ability to place her often harrowing experiences into perspective – and to take ownership of her decisions.

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Caroline E Farrell is a writer, filmmaker and blogger. She is the author of LADY BETH, and has also written and directed FRAMED, a short film. Caroline has also written and co-produced the short films, ADAM and IN RIBBONS.

The Librarian’s Cellar TBR Battle: November Reads

The ‘To Be Read’ battle continues! The goal I set for myself was to read 20 titles between September and December. So far, I have read 12 books , see September Reads HERE and October Reads HERE

So, maybe I won’t reach my original target, but I am enjoying the challenge anyway, and making time to read in a busy day is the best thing there is, so I’m winning! Here are four books I’ve enjoyed this November.

Good Samaritans by [Carver, Will]

Good Samaritans by Will Carver is a nasty book! A compelling, sharply written, nasty book! One crossed wire, three dead bodies and six bottles of bleach! No spoilers, but you get the picture? Carver has created an ensemble of sharply observed, three-dimensional characters and a cracking good story of twisted desires – and the evil that festers while in the grip of those desires. I can see the movie rising from the pages. Not one for the squeamish though!

 

When Your Eyes Close: A psychological thriller unlike anything you’ve read before! by [Farrelly, Tanya]

When Your Eyes Close by Tanya Farrelly has an unusual premise, which could have been quite difficult to execute (excuse the pun!). However, the author has managed to do just that. The story weaves around Nick Drake, a troubled alcoholic, now seriously ill, and in search of the clarity he needs to get his life back on track. Through the unlikely catalyst of Hypnotism, Nick’s journey will uncover long-buried secrets, twisted lies, and will lead to the eventual unmasking of an unlikely murderer.

 

In Pieces by Sally Field is both honest and courageous. Field conveys a childhood that was far from perfect with a candid flow that never leans into self-pity or moroseness. The book took seven years to write, with highlights from her acting career and her love affairs, but the most impressive element of this memoir for me is the deep love she holds for her mother and family that permeates every page.

 

The Broken Girls by Simone St. James is a riveting read, a chilling suspense thriller that encompasses the supernatural and a good old-fashioned tale of a journalist with attitude, still haunted by her sister’s death 20 years earlier. The story moves back and forth between past and present, and features Idlewood Hall, a now derelict building that was once a school for girls – girls that were trouble-makers, unwanted, or just too smart for their own good in an era that did not protect nor cherish them. A shocking discovery when a new and mysterious owner of Idlewood Hall begins renovations, sets in motion a riveting, twisting mystery that will unearth some painful truths.

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Caroline E. Farrell is a writer and filmmaker. Her novel, LADY BETH was awarded BEST NOVEL by the Carousel Aware Prize in 2017. She has also written and directed the short film, FRAMED (2018) currently on the festival circuit, and has written and co-produced the award-winning IN RIBBONS (2015) and ADAM (2013). She is currently working on her latest novel.