Worst Reads of 2022

Overall, 2022 was a good year. I made a lot of progress in most areas of my life, from work to my personal life, my dogs, my reading and my writing. But we’re not here to talk about that now, I’ll give you a full life update later. For now, I’m going to be talking about the parts of 2022 that were bad…

Because yeah, I read some bizarre books this year.

(for my worst reads of 2019, 2020 and 2021, see here).

Let’s get into it!

China Dream by Ma Jian

China Dream? More like Fever Dream.

This book is absolutely bizarre, and its literally like one of those horrendous dreams you have when you have the flu (or covid) and your temperature is 40 degrees Celsius and you wake up sweating and immediately forget everything about the dream except that it was weird and you never, never want to repeat that experience.

Ok. That’s enough rambling. I read this book for a reading challenge for the category of Asia. And I still have no idea what it was about or why I continued reading it. It was also my first book of the year, which I guess means I started the year with a bang.

In fairness, I believe this book was originally written in Mandarin and satire often doesn’t translate well, which may have been the issue here. Whatever it was, reading this was more of a nightmare than a dream.

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Dos And Don’ts of Writing About Mental Illness

Hello everyone! I’ve been pretty quiet on here lately, but I want to get back into posting some more “how to” writing content. I love writing things like this, so today we’re going to dive into a not-at-all-controversial topic: how to handle the topic of mental illness in your writing. It is imperative that mental illness, and those who live with mental illness, are treated with respect, dignity and honesty, so I’ve compiled a few handy Do’s and Don’ts for approaching the topic of mental illness and writing characters with mental illness.

Before we start, I want to make a quick note on language. As I speak about further down in this article, the language we use is important and we should always do our best to respect that. However, people have different preferences about the language used to describe them. In this article, I have mainly used “person first” language (this is because I’m a uni student, and this is what we’re asked to do, and also it bulks out essays wonderfully), e.g. using person/people/characters with mental illness. Occasionally, I have also used the term mentally ill, but since this is not preferred language for many people, I have kept this to a minimum.

With all that out of the way, let’s have a look at mental illness in our writing!

Do…Treat Your Characters Like People

Before we go too deeply into the dos and don’ts of writing characters with mental illnesses, I want to remind you that, at their heart, characters with mental illnesses are characters first and foremost. Just as people with mental illnesses are people first and foremost.

Remember to give your characters with mental illness the same respect and depth you give your non-mentally ill characters. Take the time to flesh them out beyond their condition. Consider their hobbies, their loves, their dislikes, and their dreams. Treat them as you would any other character. When authors take the time to consider their mentally ill characters as actual characters and develop them the same way they develop their other characters, it’s very difficult to go wrong.

Continue reading “Dos And Don’ts of Writing About Mental Illness”

Know The Novel: Within The Changeling and the Wolf

Welcome to the next instalment of the Know the Novel linkup! Unfortunately I was a bit behind on schedule this month, so I missed the actual link up, but if you want to check out everyone else who did participate, you can find it on Christine Smith’s blog ! All right, let’s get into it!

1. How’s the writing going overall?

It’s very slow work, it honestly feels like slogging through a tar pit like some poor baby mammoth some days. But yeah, I’m making progress, slow progress is still progress. It’s also a very thorough rewrite, trying to smooth out a lot massive potholes and bumps in the road, which is a lot of work, so of course it’s going to be slow and hard.

2. What’s been the most fun aspect about writing this novel so far?

Definitely hanging out with my characters again, and being able to develop my world more. Everything about this story is so fun, it’s kind of like wish fulfilment for everything I want in a Celtic fantasy book. I love all of it and just being able to immerse myself in this world of Gaelic, werewolves, fae, cults, and my sweet neurodivergent boys.

Continue reading “Know The Novel: Within The Changeling and the Wolf”

YA Books By Authors of Colour (Part 2)

Some time ago, I wrote a recommendation list of YA books by authors of colour, and I’m back today with a follow up to that post! There’s not much else to say about this, so without further ado, let’s get into it!

(Just as a note, not all of these stories are technically Young Adult, but they’re all books that will appeal to the YA readership).

With The Fire On High by Elizabeth Acevedo

This is a beautiful story about a teenaged mother, Emoni, who is trying to balance caring for her daughter and elderly grandmother, with school and her dream of becoming a chef. And also that cute boy that just turned up in her class.

Emoni is black and Puerto Rican, which I think might be the identity of the author as well (but I’m not certain). Her cultural heritage was so well woven into this story, particularly with all the food. I am 100% won over by food. It was just so well-written, so poignant and so refreshing.

Continue reading “YA Books By Authors of Colour (Part 2)”