Who’s in your top ten secondary characters?

I saw this idea for a post on Helena Fairfax’s blog – she’s a local writer, I think, and I’ve read her stuff for a little while. It got me thinking: most of my favourite characters aren’t always the protagonist. For me, a secondary character isn’t the primary character or their antagonist – they’re someone who’s an adjunct to the main action, another character who’s got something in their own right that’s memorable and interesting, and they help you as a reader/viewer learn more about the main character. Particularly in series, which I love because you sink into a character for so …

Favourite artists; Thea Gilmore

I don’t quite remember why I came across Thea Gilmore. It was during my first year of university, and I think it was a series of online track exchanges with some friends. I heard This Girl is Taking Bets, from her Rules for Jokers album, and I just adored it. I was going to and from home a lot, and would usually have music going for most of the three hour journey, so got through plenty. I bought a few tracks, an album, and then saw she was going to Manchester Student Union’s academy. It was a great gig – …

Books that changed me – The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

This is my favourite book. I’ve read it more than any other book, and I think it encapsulates so much that I love about writing and storytelling. The Story The story alternates between two stories, framing  fshlaback. A ruined Jesuit priest, Emilio Sandoz, is testifying to his Jesuit supervisors about a failed mission. The other story tells the mission – the SETI programme has heard radio signals from another planet, and Emilio, along with several others who he’s gathered around him during his lifetime, is sent by the Jesuits to make first contact. The two stories gradually begin to converge as …

50 books that will change your life

Was the title of the list posted on World Book Day last week! I have actually only read 26 of them – though with a lot, the reason for not yet reading them is that they’re YA fiction published after I was originally at that stage, I suppose, so it takes longer for me to get to them. “Change your life” is a big goal – I have actually had a couple of those recommended to me with that suggestion – one was The Fault in Our Stars which got me re-reading a lot of YA fiction, so maybe that …

Review: Bill Bryson At Home

I love Bill Bryson. I thought his Notes from a Small Island was witty, biting and showed an endearing love of Britain with all its flaws. Its American equivalent was just as interesting, given his propensity for going off on a seeming tangent to dump a load of fascinating facts that you want to share with other people and then coming back, pages later, to his original point. So I was predisposed to like this book. It’s set up as a history of private life – the reasons we have more than one floor in our house, the development of …