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Derek Flynn’s Lockdown Lit Picks: Ali Land

Writing.ie | Resources | Developing Your Craft
Derek Flynn

Derek Flynn

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A lot of people around the country are finding they have a bit more time on their hands at the moment. And many are using that time to catch up on their reading. But what to read? Not to worry – Writing.ie has you covered!

Today, we’re starting a new feature called Lockdown Lit Picks, where we’ll ask some of the country’s favourite authors what books they’re reading at the moment. This week, it’s the turn of author, Ali Land.

ALI: I’d love to recommend The Language of Kindness: A Nurse’s Story by Christie Watson. Rest and Be Thankful by Emma Glass, another novel written by a nurse, and a literary window into the demands of the job. And the ever-brilliant Patti Smith – her book Devotion (Why I Write) because all this time got me pondering my art!

 

The Language of Kindness: A Nurse’s Story by Christie Watson

Christie Watson was a nurse for twenty years. Taking us from birth to death and from A&E to the mortuary, The Language of Kindness is an astounding account of a profession defined by acts of care, compassion and kindness.

We watch Christie as she nurses a premature baby who has miraculously made it through the night, we stand by her side during her patient’s agonising heart-lung transplant, and we hold our breath as she washes the hair of a child fatally injured in a fire, attempting to remove the toxic smell of smoke before the grieving family arrive.

In our most extreme moments, when life is lived most intensely, Christie is with us. She is a guide, mentor and friend. And in these dark days of division and isolationism, she encourages us all to stretch out a hand.

Order your copy online here.

 

Rest and Be Thankful by Emma Glass

Laura is a nurse in a paediatric unit. On long, quiet shifts, she and her colleagues, clad in their different shades of blue, care for sick babies, handling their exquisitely frangible bodies, carefully calibrating the mysterious machines that keep them alive.

Laura may be burned out. Her hands have been raw from washing as long as she can remember. When she sleeps, she dreams of water; when she wakes, she finds herself lying next to a man who doesn’t love her anymore. And there is a strange figure dancing in the corner of her vision, always just beyond her reach.

Dark yet luminous, sensual yet chilling, ringing with strange music and laced with dread, Rest and Be Thankful is an unforgettable novel that confirms Emma Glass as a visionary new voice.

Order your copy online here.

 

Devotion (Why I Write) by Patti Smith

A work of creative brilliance may seem like magic – its source a mystery, its impact unexpectedly stirring. How does an artist accomplish such an achievement, connecting deeply with an audience never met? In this ground-breaking book, one of our culture’s beloved artists offers a detailed account of her own creative process, inspirations, and unexpected connections.

Patti Smith first presents an original and beautifully crafted tale of obsession – a young skater who lives for her art, a possessive collector who ruthlessly seeks his prize, a relationship forged of need both craven and exalted. She then takes us on a second journey, exploring the sources of her story. We travel through the South of France to Camus’s house, and visit the garden of the great publisher Gallimard where the ghosts of Mishima, Nabokov, and Genet mingle. Smith tracks down Simone Weil’s grave in a lonely cemetery, hours from London, and winds through the nameless Paris streets of Patrick Modiano’s novels. Whether writing in a cafe or a train, Smith generously opens her notebooks and lets us glimpse the alchemy of her art and craft in this arresting and original book on writing.

Order your copy online here.

 

After graduating from university with a degree in Mental Health, Ali Land spent a decade working as a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Nurse in both hospitals and schools in the UK and Australia. Though a voracious reader from a young age and a keen observer of the world, it took Ali over thirty years to put pen to paper but she sure is glad she did! Ali’s debut novel Good Me Bad Me is a Sunday Times bestseller and will be translated into twenty-two languages. Ali is now a full-time writer and lives in London and is currently working on her second novel.

Follow Ali on Twitter and Instagram @byAliLand

 

About Good Me Bad Me by Ali Land:

When Annie hands her mother over to the police she hopes for a new start in life – but can we ever escape our past?

‘NEW NAME. NEW FAMILY. SHINY. NEW. ME.’

Annie’s mother is a serial killer. The only way Annie can make it stop is to hand her in to the police.

With a new foster family and a new name – Milly – she hopes for a fresh start. Now, surely, she can be whoever she wants to be. But as her mother’s trial looms, the secrets of Milly’s past won’t let her sleep . . .

Because Milly’s mother is a serial killer. And blood is thicker than water…

Order your copy online here.

About the author

Derek Flynn runs Writing.ie’s SongBook blog, and is an Irish writer and musician. He has a Masters in Creative Writing from Trinity College, Dublin. He’s been published in a number of publications, including The Irish Times, and his fiction was featured in ‘Surge’, an anthology of new Irish writing published by O’ Brien Press with the aim of showcasing “the very best of the next generation of Irish authors”. Online he can be found at his writing/music blog – ‘Rant, with Occasional Music’ – and on Twitter as @derekf03

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