Sunday, 20 May 2012

Dorthy M Reviews THE ROAD by Cormac McCarthy

Dorothy, a valued and very informed member of our Iconic Book Group  lives in Littletown near Durham City.  Now retired she worked for Durham County Library Service for over 40 years and lists books and reading as one of her great passions.  She reviews books for the website - do give this a try if you don’t know it – it is a very original way of suggesting books for readers.  

Here's Dorothy: 

 'The Road is a brilliant novel and a great work of literature – but first and foremost it is an amazing experience.  I was totally immersed in this grim world and in the story of a man (who is dying slowly and painfully) and a boy journeying through a country destroyed by some cataclysmic event.  The book portrays a bleak, cold, grey world which is without hope but where to despair is to die.  Yet even in it’s darkest moments this is a book lit up by a story of incandescent love – the love between a father and son.

As father and son plod slowly south on their way to a hopefully slightly better climate we learn that the father has promised to kill his son at the time of his own death for he cannot bear to leave him alone in such a hostile world.
From the very first words of the book -  When he woke in the woods in the dark and the cold of the night he’d reach out to touch the child sleeping beside him.  Nights dark beyond darkness and the days more gray each one than what had gone before.-  
you are plunged into a harrowing tale of survival  - a story which is both sad and uplifting.  The story is told in language which is beautiful in its starkness and poetic in its rhythms and every word packs an emotional punch.  The use of repetition is particularly effective.  The dialogue between father and son is heartbreaking and never has the word ‘okay’ been used to such devastating effect.

Magnificent descriptions of the desolation of the blasted countryside and the ruined cities they pass through are contrasted with the unspeakable horrors of human degradation as the few survivors abandon all morality and fight for their lives.

This seems to me to be one of the best novels of our generation.  In fact the book reminds me more and more of “Pilgrim’s Progress” every time I read it – partly because of the journey and partly because of the language.  If you haven’t read it yet – drop everything and read it now!'

Dorothy M.

I like the look of - Good for readers who want to spread their wings. Wendy


Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Iconic reading Group

Our Reading Group will meet  on Saturday 19th May 

Join us at 3.30pm in the conservatory at Whitworth Hall. 

The books we are reading are:-

The Summer Book by Tove Jansson 


Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky 

Come and Join us to talk books. All welcome!

Monday, 14 May 2012

Full day workshop at Middlesbrough

STOP PRESS: On 16th June I will be leading a full fay  workshop at Middlesbrough Reference library about creative  writing inspired by local history. Last week  I went by train with Gillian  to the exquisite Carnegie reference library in Middlebrough, which on May 2nd celebrated the centenary of its original building in 1912.  There is a good deal to celebrate: this building is the epitome of respect for the world of books and learning... click for more information   Come and join me if you can. Wendy

Kurt Vonnegut's Eight Rules for Writing Fiction

 Recommended by Avril

1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.

2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.

3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.

4. Every sentence must do one of two things -- reveal character or advance the action.

5. Start as close to the end as possible.

6. Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them -- in order that the reader may see what they are made of.

7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.

8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

Friday, 4 May 2012


At Noon THIS SUNDAY 6TH MAY   Sylvia Hurst. nee Fleischer, now 90, talks about her autobiography Laugh or Cry, which starts in pre-war Germany and ends up, via the 1939 Kindertransport and life in London and Manchester, in the small village of Tantobie in County Durham. A unique voice from the past and the present reflecting major events in the twentieth century.   Try to listen on Bishop FM 105.9