Books And Baths And Beans, Oh My

The past week can mainly be summed up by this picture:

I’d been at the library looking for some novels which had been recommended to me, when I stumbled across Diarmaid MacCulloch’s A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years. Since one of my ongoing projects is to write a book about the way the histories of various spiritual paths have intertwined in that time period, I decided to check it out.

It was a big book, so it took me most of the week to read it. I also made copious notes, and I was happy that I’d recently started a new notebook: it irritates me when I have to split book notes between two notebooks.

I discovered some interesting things, but perhaps more importantly I ended up with some more suggestions for my reading list. The reading list is eternal, I have found.

Overall it has been a very bookish week. Not only did I read The History of Christianity, and in doing so planned some more bits of the ongoing book project, I also did a bit more planning of the novel I’ll be writing shortly. I blogged some of the planning, because I think it might be helpful if you want to write a novel.

The upcoming novel is about three women, all of whom have ties to a cult. The first, we’ll call her Woman A for now since I haven’t decided on any names yet, meets a mother and daughter in a random encounter on the street one day, and ends up converting them to her religion. Woman B – the mother – willingly laps up the new teachings and happily lives her life according to the cult’s rules, bathing in religious bliss. The daughter, Woman C, is less enamoured with the whole thing, and prone to thinking about the bigger questions in life: a pastime which is strictly forbidden, and which she must keep secret from her mother and those around her if she wants ever to be able to leave. But will she have the courage to cut the ties with her past and create a future based on her own rules?

Yes, it is a little bit autobiographical in places 😉 but not very. The basic premise is similar to (part of) my life – a mother and daughter ending up in a cult, the daughter struggling with its demands – but the characters, their experiences and the cult itself will be wholly new. Or at least, that’s the plan.

And then I planned basic overviews for the next couple of digital forensics books, which I think I’ll leave until next year. One project at a time, right?

The current book is nearly complete! It’s in the pre-finals stage, which means we’re just making the last few edits to the style and content before it can be published. Unfortunately on Friday this happened:

…and it genuinely stunned me. Few things in life shock me, because I have very low expectations of almost everything, but I do usually expect people to at least be halfway competent at their jobs. And not being able to write sentences in grammatically correct English is very much not OK if you are a proofreader of English books.

In case you think I’m exaggerating the problem, here is one of the comments the proofreader left in the margin:

I went through the book and undid all the errors the proofreader had put in, then sent a slightly snarky email to the publishers, recommending that they check the proofreader’s credentials. Normally I’m quite nice about people making mistakes, but there’s a difference between making a mistake – like neglecting to correct a typo that’s in the text – and being hugely incompetent at your job – like adding new grammatical errors THAT WEREN’T THERE IN THE ORIGINAL VERSION.

breathe, scar

Anyway, hopefully it’s sorted now, and I won’t end up with my name on the cover of a badly-written book, which would be worse than having my name on the cover of no book at all.

Apart from reading, planning and writing books, I also spent a lot of time in the bath after my biannual ESPA delivery, which was very pleasant.

And now that I can finally eat again, I got back in the kitchen and made some food. Mainly beans.

I also got a takeaway menu through from Chai Naasto, which looks very promising. At the moment I’m not allowed to eat spicy food though, so I will have to wait a while before I can go there. But I’m very much looking forward to trying it out eventually!

The Reading List

This week I read:

  • A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years by Diarmaid MacCulloch – notes above. It was good, thorough and worth a read if you’re interested in the subject. It’s also been made into a BBC TV series, which unfortunately doesn’t seem to be available to watch on iPlayer, but perhaps it will be in the future.
  • The Child by Fiona Barton – a crime novel which keeps you twisting and turning until you’re a bit dizzy, but in a very pleasant way. I did guess the ending, but not until a few chapters before it happened, and the twists were cleverly written. It also had the advantage of being told from four perspectives (well, three and a half really), which makes it helpful to read if you’re planning to write a novel from multiple points of view, like I am.

Interesting Things on the Internet This Week

How’s your week been?


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