The last two weeks, dear reader, have been a bit of a whirlwind. We are now brainstorming season 3 for my beloved series #TheEstateOn3 and we are doing it online. Online storylining is quite grueling and requires intense focus and the ability to butt in and speak louder than anyone else (Being the youngest child of four, I have EXCELLENT skills in both those areas.)
I also have the need to recreate the conditions of an inperson brainstorm so I drink enough coffee to make sure I’m bouncing around the room and stock up on the kinds of junk food I shouldn’t be eating – like wine gums. I lurrrrve wine gums (no, they do not contain wine). The excessive amount of sugar they deliver is perfect and makes me extremely creative for about twenty minutes, until I crash and then need caffeine and a yoga stretch to revive me.
Apart from that we are in the thick of planning for the Kingsmead Book Fair #KBF22 which is happening IN REAL LIFE this year. It is truly one of my favourite book festivals and I was beyond excited to be asked to be a literary advisor on it (plus Literary Advisor just sounds so clever.) A fabulous addition to the youth festival this year is a writing competition. See the poster for details and do please share it with anyone you think may be interested. In case you have a few spare shekels hanging around, we are looking for another sponsor for the fair, so if you love books and are rolling in loot do get in touch and fling some of it our way.
We are – in case you haven’t noticed (bwahahahahahahaha) – promoting our group novel Chasing Marian. We’ve had some lovely feedback and had the heady moment of being number 1 at Exclusive Books Rosebank. I don’t think any of my books have ever charted at Exclusive’s before so this is MASSIVELY exciting. If you missed our launch, we have the Exclusive’s book club bash coming up on April 12th at Exclusive Books Bedford Centre so put that in your diary and remember to RSVP.
In family news, the son is heading off to the UK soon to stooge at a school there (or be a Gap Assistant or Gappie as they call it). It’s a weird stage to be at as a parent. After two years of family togetherness due to the Rona, we are all getting on each other’s nerves but the thought of being apart is horrible. That being said, our firstborn needs to spread his wings, so in preparation, I handed him Jen Thorpe’s Adulting 101 to read. It’s so filled with handy tips about what it means to be an adult and take responsibility for your life, it’s just perfect for this next stage of his life.
CODA – it won Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars and I just loved it. And no, I will not be discussing The Slap that happened between Will Smith and Chris Rock at the Oscars. Firstly, because it’s been discussed ad nauseum on the socials with everyone giving their hot takes and secondly because we don’t have to comment about everything. We really, really don’t.
Sooooooo CODA stands for Child Of Deaf Adults and that is what this movie is about. Ruby (v cool name) is the only hearing person in her family and wants to leave the family business and become a singer – and obvs her family cannot hear her sing, so her choice feels very odd to her mum. It’s a quirky, heartwarming story and I found the insight into their family dynamics fascinating. I’m also thrilled that it was free on Apple TV as I’m not entirely sure what I’m paying my subscription for as I seem to have to buy all the movies I want to watch.
(God help me, I sounded just like my father there.)
Whinging aside, we did find a series called Severance on Apple that seems interesting (and is free!) It’s about a procedure where candidates keep their work life and home life completely separate – their memories are literally severed so when they’re at home, they remember nothing about work and vice versa. Obvs there is nefarious stuff at play which we have yet to discover.
On Netflix, we watched an old movie from 2013 called Prisoners. I remembered that I thought it was too violent for me when it first came out which is why I avoided it – and it was violent – but also riveting, with a stunning cast including Jake Gyllenhaal, Hugh Jackman, Maria Bello, Viola Davis and Terence Howard. The basic premise is that Hugh Jackman decides to kidnap the dude he thinks is responsible for the disappearance of his child and Hugh, as you can imagine, dear reader, is not helluva nice to this person…it’s very long so we watched it in two sittings.
I finished both Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson and The Maid by Nita Prose and I absolutely lurrrrrrved both of them. Firstly, the title of Black Cake is so gorgeously evocative and so fitting for this novel which is a sprawling family saga with a mystery at its heart that starts off in the Caribbean, moves to the UK and finishes up in America where the mystery is finally solved. The Maid is about a hotel maid who is neurodiverse and who lands up unwittingly getting involved in a murder at a hotel and how she helps solve whodunnit. It’s a cosy read with a heroine that reminded me of Eleanor Oliphant. Thank you to the lovely Helen Holyoake and Exclusive Books for my copies.
Next week if you’re around, I will be interviewing an author at Love Books FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME since this whole shitshow began. Yes, I have the honour of being in convo with Cathy Park Kelly about her memoir Boiling A Frog Slowly. It’s a beautifully written and heartwrenching account of how Cathy extricated herself from an abusive relationship and I’m very much looking forward to speaking to her about it. It’s also published by fave, Karavan Books who just seem to be going from strength to strength so please do come along. Wednesday, 6th April, 5.30 for 6pm, there are only 30 spots so if you want to come you’d better RSVP chop chop.
Have a great weekend, beloveds and happy reading! xxx