Posts by Guest blog writer

Book reviews from Attic Window Cellar Door

Posted Monday 5 February 2018 by Guest blog writer in Book Bloggers

Between social media, the public libraries movement, book shops, big publishers and a sharp rise in the number of small, independent niche publishers – books are everywhere, from posters of the latest must-read bestsellers in tube stations, to telephone boxes in remote rural areas turned into book exchanges. Publishers throw book launch parties to show off their authors (sign up to your favourite publishers’ newsletters and follow them on social media to hear about these events) and libraries are becoming hives of activity, hosting anything from mini plays and author Q&As, book readings to children’s story-time afternoons, and book discussion groups.

Attic Window authorAs a lifelong book lover, in the midst of this groundswell I became one of the hundreds, and maybe thousands of readers who stared a book blog. I started my blog (Attic Window, Cellar Door), because posting to a blog is a nice way to keep track of and give a bit more thought to the books I'm reading, and blogs are a good way to recommend books to other people with similar bookish tastes, and I get some great recommendations from other people’s blogs in return. Social Media is also fabulous for competitions and giveaways of books – follow bloggers, book shops, and publishers to spot these.

Some really good books I've read lately that have recently been released or are due to be released very soon are:

Frankenstein in Baghdad by Iraqi author Ahmed Saadawi – ordinary people living in a war zone. It has some arrestingly bitter-sweet moments among a backdrop of Gothic horror. Surreal with a compelling story, this is magic realism in the heart of contemporary war-torn Iraq.

In Our Mad and Furious City will be out in early May this year. It's contemporary fiction by debut author Guy Gunaratne, recounting 24 hours on a London housing estate. It's very up close and personal, and the writing is edge-of-the-seat tense from start to finish.

A really brilliant ghost story if you like something a bit more cosy and spine-tingling, is The Coffin Path by Katherine Clements, which is set on the Yorkshire Moors and is very atmospheric.

A book that's only just been released, and which is one of my favourites of the moment is The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn – a slow-building murder mystery thriller that evokes everything that is great about Hitchcock. It's very dark and claustrophobic noir but also very cosy, and I really recommend it to any murder mystery fans or black-and-white movie buffs.

The Earlie King and the Kid in Yellow by Danny Denton, which is another of my current favourites, is a perfect piece of Irish dystopian fiction set in a near-future Ireland where an eerie rain never stops falling. It's a dark and earthy tale, and written in the very best tradition of off-kilter Irish story telling.

And a book coming in May that I can't wait to get my hands on is a contemporary retelling, in the Hogarth Shakespeare series, of MacBeth by Jo Nesbo."

Sahera Patel is not a celebrity, she's a Muslim

Posted Wednesday 31 January 2018 by Guest blog writer in Author blogs

""Sahera Patel – author".  I still have to pinch myself when I hear those words. 

My passion for writing was re-awakened when my brother-in-law asked to look at my university dissertation. Words which I had penned in the last century and words which seemed to be far beyond the capabilities of a busy mother and full-time teacher.  It was this stark reminder of the once academic me that motivated me to search once again for purposeful thoughts that translated in to entertaining and inspirational wordsSahera Patel book cover.

"I’m not a celebrity I am a Muslim" was the first product of this new motivation.  An autobiography, it seeks to dispel the many misconceptions in Islam caused by the confusion between culture and religion.  Through topics such as domestic abuse, cancer and marriage, I attempt to reveal the reality of a loving faith in comparison to the far harsher expectations of a culture carried over from India and Pakistan.  It is a journey of faith, but more than this, it reveals the very human journey of life and how we all seek to find solace wherever we can find it.

Sahera Patel on a diagonalMy recently published book is called Unveiling Arabia.  It reveals the many experiences I had whilst living and teaching in Saudi Arabia.  Any expected political agendas would have to be put to bed by the reader, as my writing reveals the reality of Saudi, not the one presented by the media.  Glamorous, confident women, the freedom to enjoy sun set dinners in breath-taking locations and hilarious interactions with the locals are all comical anecdotes worth exploring.  The book does have a sprinkling of politics, as lack of democracy in Saudi cannot be denied and was certainly one of the most infuriating aspects of living there, however, outweighing this frustration was the spirituality of Mecca, the forming of life-long friendships, embracing new, challenging experiences and confronting one’s own pre-conceived perceptions. 

Sahera Patel unveiling arabiaMy passion in life is my faith, and it is with this passion that I have launched a public speaking venture regarding the understanding of Islam, targeted at high schools, colleges and any other organisations that wish to learn about the everyday Muslim.  From basic beliefs to social misconceptions, I attempt to educate my audiences through my personal journey, providing intimate, enlightening sessions where political correctness is left outside the door.

I have also indulged in a little poetry as a stop gap in anticipation for the next life experience.  Hopefully, it will be an inspiring one, earning itself the right to be transformed in to another book."

Sahera will be appearing in Bolton on 19th February.

North West Libraries

Librarians in the North West have pioneered partnership working to encourage new readers into libraries. Time To Read is a partnership of librarians engaged in reader development activity in public library authorities in the North West Region. 22 public library authorities in the region currently support Time To Read.

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