HELLO and I’m not going to say Happy New Year because it’s the 1oth January and way too late to be banging on about it.
I’m actually q cheerful though. Two and a bit weeks in Sri Lanka perked my Vitamin D levels right up, I ate 9m curries, read some brilliant books* and combined drinking coconut water with editing What Happens Now from the sunbed. It’s going back to my editor on Sunday so I’m currently tightening up various scenes. I wish wish wish I could tell you about the scene I wrote this afternoon but I’m still keeping the theme under slight wraps. Suffice to say, if my google search history was ever made public, I’d have to leave Earth.
*The Patrick Melrose novels. All five of them. I mostly screamed with laughter, although if you saw the Benedict Cumberbatch/Sky adaptation then you’ll know it’s not all laughs. St Aubyn’s forensic and semi-autobigraphical account of the British upper classes is as breathtaking as his depiction of addiction. Apparently Benedict (he won’t mind if I call him Benedict) read them and loved them so much he optioned them himself. No wonder.
*John Gimlette’s book on Sri Lanka – Elephant Complex. READ IT if you’re going there any time soon or have even a passing interest in the country. A perfect history of the place and written in 2015 so post Civil War, its every line made me annoyed that I could never write anything so vivid or clever. Did you know that Sri Lanka is the size of Ireland and, in 1757, they found a 20-foot crocodile in the south which, when they opened it, contained half a digested man? After reading this book, I keep regurgitating such facts like a seven-year-old boy.
* Sarra Manning’s modern adaptation of Vanity Fair, The Rise and Fall of Becky Sharp. Sarra’s a writer I met the Harper Collins summer party last year and who said jolly nice things about The Plus One. This was her 2018 release and it’s a proper romp and also quite useful if you want to pretend that you’ve read Vanity Fair (all 912 pages of it) but never have. Read Sarra’s (a mere 400 pages) and you’ll know what happens.