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Book reviews ... Author interviews ... and anything else I think might be of interest to writers and readers.

Sunday, 29 June 2008

The Maeve Binchy ...

... Writers' Club

After my previous post a couple of people asked if this book was any good. So, in the interests of providing a public service, I thought I'd do a proper review of it.

I'm a big fan of Maeve Binchy's novels, although I must confess to not having read the last couple. It has been said that reading one of her novels is like going out for a coffee with a friend, pulling your chair up to the table and settling down for a good chat and to catch up on all the gossip.

This book feels the same, although here Maeve isn't telling a story - she's imparting her years of knowledge about writing in the common sense down to earth way that you would expect.

Throughout the book, Maeve's own observations and advice are interspersed with contributions from carefully selected experts in the various subjects she discusses. The areas include: writing short stories; the role of the editor; writing for stage; murder, mystery and suspense, and many others.

As an added bonus, you also get a new short story by Maeve Binchy written especially for the book. It's worth reading just for that.

And let's face it, wouldn't it be fantastic if Maeve Binchy set up a real life writers' club and we could all be members?


Yvonne said...

Great review, I'd be interested in reading as it sounds like it has loads of useful writing advice to impart. I loved Maeve Binchy's first few novels but lately I felt like she was repeating herself a little. But I'd be willing to revisit for some advice!

Lane Mathias said...

I've read a couple of dodgy reviews about this book but I trust yours Helen and will give it a go.

Hope you're well m'dear:-) x

Pacha said...

I've had my eye on this book - who doesn't like a Maeve Binchy novel every now and then?

Sounds like a book worth getting a hold of! Thanks Helen!

Jen said...

Somehow or other, I've never read a Maeve Binchy novel but I do have this book lurking unread.

Am rather looking forward to it now... sounds like a great way to while away a rainy afternoon.

HelenMWalters said...

Yvonne - I think the last novel I read was Quentins, which I did enjoy a lot, but it is probably the earlier ones, like Echoes, that really stand out for me.

Lane - I'm fine darling, hope you and the doglets are too x

Pacha - her short stories are very good as well ...

Jen - yes, and you can dip in and out of this book which is good.

Karen said...

I remember reading Light a Penny Candle many moons ago, and this one sounds like it might be worth a look. She MUST know what she's talking about!

Deborah Carr (Debs) said...

This does sound good. I shall have to think about adding it to my tbr piles.

Annieye said...

Good review Helen. Sounds like there are a few good tips from a very successful novelist - and, yes, it would be great to be a member of such a group, wouldn't it.

Leigh Forbes said...

Yes, it would be great - though if I spend any more time talking about writing, I'll never get any done!

Great review. I think I'll just give you my library login details, and ask you to order my reading list for me!

Kerry said...

I've read this as well and found it interesting. I know what you mean about it feeling like she's just having a chatter with you. I found that it was helpful but over too soon....I wanted more of The Binchy! Hope you are well :) XX

HelenMWalters said...

Karen - exactly! That's what I think.

Debs - your tbr piles will topple over if you're not careful

Annie - maybe we could persuade her.

Leigh - sounds fair enough to me!

Kerry - I do think though, that this is a book I'll find myself dipping into to reread the most relevant bits.

Annie Wicking said...

I would just enjoy listening to her advice on how she writes her book.

Anything that helps me to improve my writing is all right by me.

I love listening to your advice to my dear friend, Helen.

Best wishes,

Jill Steeples said...

Thanks, Helen. I will definitely buy this now. I think I mentioned earlier that The Book People have this on offer at the moment for £3.99, if anyone's interested.

HelenMWalters said...

Annie - I'm sure she'd give us all some good advice.

Maddie - yes that does sound like a bargain. I got it from Amazon, but I can't remember how much I paid as I lose all sense of reality when I go there!

Jane Smith said...

I've picked this up a couple of times but not bought it. I might just do so now. Thanks!


HelenMWalters said...

I certainly think it's worth it, Jane