Jesobel Jones can bake. In a truly triumphant, appearing-on-TV kind of way. But this means nothing to the rest of the world, because apparently all that cake mix is starting to show – in all the wrong places. So when she lands an invite to the Party of Year by the Boy of Her Dreams, she wonders whether it’s time for a new, improved Jess. But will life still taste as good?
Anna Mainwaring's debut is a light-hearted and sometimes poignant take on the pressures that face teenage girls. It's hard to smile in all those selfies when you don't like the girl who looks back at you. But which is more important - looking perfect or being happy?Goodreads Link: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25092580-the-lives-and-loves-of-jesobel-jones?from_search=true
Top Ten Places to Write and Read
So, so many wonderful places come to mind so these are just my very favourite haunts, past and present!
If you are not familiar with this particular hidden Mancunian gem, then you are missing a treat and need to put it on your list of libraries to visit. You have to find a small and rather unappealing door, marked only by a plaque and a bell. On ringing the bell, you climb two rickety flights until you arrive at a space that can only by described as Hogwartian. Where else can you find shelves dedicated to ‘Polite Literature’? This was one of the first subscription libraries in the country, a place where Roget began to write his famous thesaurus. I am not a member yet: it’s something I aspire to; however, the times I have visited I have found incredibly inspiring and I have written many pages whilst there.
You won’t have heard of this one. It is a coffee shop by day and wine bar by night. In the afternoon, it can be whichever you prefer. On my rare days not teaching or looking after my children, I steal away with my note pad or laptop for a few hours writing. I’ve overheard a couple split up, an engagement, numerous revelations and fascinating insights into everyday lives.
Well, it’s good enough for CS Lewis and JRR Tolkein then who am I to turn it down? I spent many hours here as a student; some in deep literary research, some creative writing and some asleep after a late night. You can call up any book ever printed in the UK simply by filling in a small paper slip and it’s bought up from subterreanean tunnels. You can find views of spires, domes, streets or medieval buildings merely by selecting another seat. A truly wonderful place and I wish I still had my library card!
I like writing on trains. The journey time should be in excess of an hour, I should have access to a table and coffee. The view is irrelevant but I can only write if the train is in motion. I was struggling with the final third of ‘The Lives and Loves of Jesobel Jones’. My agent had pointed out issues with my original ending and I could see that she was right but I couldn’t see how to resolve all the stories that I’d set up in the first two thirds. I had a rare Monday off and there was an exhibition at the Bodleian (see above) that I wanted to see so off I went. During the journey, somewhere between Birmingham and Oxford I had my eureka moment when finally all the pieces fell together and I knew I’d got it right. Fortunately Anne agreed and writing those scenes turned out to be the most straightforward piece of writing I’ve ever done! A rare but beautiful thing…
I like being up high. My childhood bedroom in Leeds had views right over the city to the hills beyond and I always seem to seek out high places. I live near the Derbyshire/Cheshire border and I can see Shuttingslow, the so-called Matterhorn of Cheshire, as I drive to work. If I have a plot problem, I find it very useful to walk up, sit down with a notebook and thrash it out and then all becomes clear with a bit of distance.
Another coffee house where I’ve spent many hours planning! I can forgive the hideous Raspberry Ripple Latte they once persuaded me to buy because apart from that it is an exemplary café! Great service, superb coffee and cakes, free books and a quirky building. Possibly the most civilised place in Stockport.
Back on the train to Manchester, the Central Library has been recently refurbished and it’s a wonderful space whether you want to write or read. It looks like a Greek temple, where book lovers can come to worship. The resources on offer are stunning; the movable bookcases that make the faces of great writers are playful and my children and I spent a happy hour playing in the lifts. Yes, we really are that cool.
Yes, it is stunning the amount of wonderful libraries that Manchester has! And I have missed out a few others (sorry Chetham’s). This gothic masterpiece looks like it belongs in a medieval age that Manchester never actually had. The library rooms are small but atmospheric, the building as a whole is majestic, the café is excellent and it holds a special place in my heart as I’ve done a number of readings here and my fantastic SCBWI group meet here.
From gothic magnificence to an Ikea table with a view of a neglected surburban garden. I don’t write at the table that often but I did have one free half term holiday where I sat at the table for hours a day, writing and editing the new ending to my novel. My only company were Radio 4 and the birds outside, followed by the cats who stalked them but I was perfectly content!
Most of my writing takes place here. It is not splendid in any shape or form. It was once one of my children’s bedrooms and there is still Winnie the Pooh wall paper on the walls. The carpet is an unappealing green. I find myself distracted watching planes come into to Manchester Airport and by my neighbours’ bad parking. Despite these things, it is my most fruitful place to write. I generally write with the children in bed. I have a blanket under the keyboard as apparently I type too loudly and keep them awake. But at least as Virginia Woolf would say, I have a room of my own in which to write. And for that I am very grateful!
So from the splendid to the quotidian, these are my favourite places both to read and write.
Labels: 10 places to read and write, Anna Mainwaring, Blog Tour, Contemporary, Faye Rogers, Guest Post, Reading, Reviews, The Book Moo, The Lives and Loves of Jesobel Jones