Stories From a Book Club #8

Stories from a book club #8

The Stories from a Backpack Monthly Online Book Club – A round-up of the books I’ve loved each month to inspire you to read and share your thoughts! It’s like a book club, but you get to miss out the rubbish books!

The book club is back!

It’s been a while since I’ve written a book round-up. I’ve been reading lots of books to help with the writing courses I teach, and I haven’t had as much time as I would have liked this last month to read for fun. What about you? Have you tried writing in some books this month? Or have you been reading any cool fiction books?

September felt like it was the back to school month it should always be, yet somehow it was off. Like something was missing. I felt the days move pretty quickly and now suddenly it’s dark so early in the evenings, and the heating is most definitely ON!

Autumn means more time for reading

One thing I love about the darker nights is the extra time for reading. It feels so indulgent yet relaxing, to sit by the fire with a glass of wine and just read! In the summer I always feel like I should be out doing something in the evening, but autumn and the chilly nights mean more time for reading.  My list of books for October is growing, but I thought I’d do a roundup of the books I read in September.

Here’s the September round-up, random and eclectic as always:

Total books read: 4
Fiction: 1
Non-fiction: 3
Total pages: 971

Book #1 – The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry – Rachel Joyce

Where was it from?  I saved it from a charity shop. It was in the 50p box, destined for the skip. I love thinking about the lives of second-hand books. Did the first owner read it or just donate it? Was it an unwanted gift? A lost book, perhaps? Left on a train and always missed. Or was it enjoyed and passed on, ready for the next reader to enjoy?

It felt perfect to me that I found Harold Fry in a dusty plastic box outside of a charity shop. I think if he was real, it might be where he would people watch and pass the time.

Fiction: Harold Fry is what you would imagine your typical retired old gentleman to be. But when he pops out to post a letter one morning, he doesn’t know that his life will change forever, and he won’t be going home. The letter was the start of his walking journey. Walking from one end of the country to the other, all hoping to save an old friend. No books or map or mobile phone. Harold must keep walking to save a life.

This was my favourite book this month! This is exactly the sort of fiction I love. I’m not keen on genre books, things like thrillers or romance. A wholesome fiction book like this is what I want to write and read. I don’t even really know how to describe the genre. Contemporary fiction, perhaps? It’s slow and steady, but not boring. You won’t forget Harold quickly.

Read this book if:  You want a wonderful book to read on a Sunday afternoon.

Quotes I think you’ll love: 

  • Life is very different when you walk through it.”

Book #2 – My Wild and Sleepless Nights – Clover Stroud

Where was it from? The library! September was the month I finally made it back to the library and goodness me, it felt so good! It felt like a slice of normal. I’m so grateful for our local library, it has saved me a fortune in books and I’ve really missed it during lockdown.

Whilst you can’t order books, you can now browse! It reminded me of Saturday mornings spent in the library as a kid, hunting for books, not worrying about ordering the bestsellers! But trawling the shelves for something that looked good, and that’s exactly what I did, and I found this. I’ve had it in my wish list for a while, especially after I heard Clover’s interview with Emma Gannon on her podcast.

Non-Fiction: Clover shares her memoir on motherhood. It’s abrasive and visceral, and at times I really didn’t like it or her. But what I did like is how honest she was. Honest to the point where it was shocking. That’s where I believe real power lies in non-fiction writing. When someone is brave enough to say things that others might only whisper. I hope to write with this honesty in my books.

On the front cover of the book, Elizabeth Gilbert sums it up way better than I ever could:

Every time a woman tells the truth like this, it sets another woman free.

There is so much power in that.

Read this book if:  If you are a new mother or you’ve got kids, I can imagine this might speak to some of your truths, perhaps.

Quotes I think you’ll love: 

  • Encourage them to live expansively.”
  • The most valuable things I can give them are my love and time.

Book #3 – Old Friend From Far Away – Natalie Goldberg

Where was it from?  Lockdown purchase. Amazon.

Non-Fiction:  A guide to the practice of writing memoir. Natalie Goldberg is one of the infamous creative writing masters. Her texts have lived on for decades. This focuses on how to write a memoir and document your life. Some of the prompts are random but very thought-provoking.  

Read this book if: You want some writing prompts and ideas to help you with life writing and documenting your life. Or if you want to write a memoir.  

Quotes I think you’ll love: 

  • Whatever your life, it is urging you to record it–to take the crumbs with the cake. We want the emotional truths under the surface that drove our life.

Book #4 – Turning Pro – Tap your inner power and create your life’s work – Steven Pressfield

Where was it from?  Lockdown purchase. Amazon.

Non-Fiction: This book is about turning pro, meaning turning professional V’s being an amateur. Whilst it’s about writing, you could use the principles to help with any creative pursuit. Steven Pressfield’s books are so interesting to me, they are small and quick to read, but you have to read them twice. Letting the words resonate. I like this book because it talks about how hard it is to ‘turn pro’ but how incredible the rewards are to live a life full of passion and purpose, not for the sake of reward, but for the sake of a job well done.

Read this book if: You need a pep talk to help you turn pro in your chosen path.

Quotes I think you’ll love: 

  • When we convene day upon day in the same space at the same time, a powerful energy builds up around us. This is the energy of our intention, of our dedication, of our commitment.”

Stories from a book club #8

Stories from a book club #8 I read and review some books each month, to find some I think you’ll enjoy. Here’s how the book club works:

You pick one you like from the list above and read it. We then get to chat on Instagram about all the things you loved and thought about when you read the book. No time pressures. No complicated questions. Just DM me and we can chat. I love talking about books.

Just two friends reading the same book and chatting through how it made us feel. Sound good?

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