The vast majority write out of a desire to share their experience with other people. Sharing something imparts a feeling of usefulness. Some people say they write for pleasure, others that say they write out of a desire to inform their peers. Others say they write for the sake of competition.
Nothing in this world is done without a reason because in addition to existential needs, people need much more.
But can literature change people, providing that people want to change?
We are rational beings, we socialize and we need to express our feelings and to see them echoed in others. We need to leave a mark behind us, footprints in the sand. So we write. Some of us.
Perhaps all the reasons why people write are based on the simple pleasure of writing.
So, why do people write?
Writing is therapeutic. The white paper listens to you and does not judge you. It accepts everything you want to give, the countless revisions too, without getting upset. It doesn’t matter if you write well or bad, the simple fact of putting your thoughts on paper frees you and gives you clarity and peace of mind. At least during the present moment. When it counts.
Writing clarifies the mind. If you can’t explain something to others, then you don’t understand it very well either. As you write, you reveal the knots in your thinking and force yourself to untangle them. I know I do.
Writing helps you learn. When I research for a book I need information in addition to what I already know. I have to document myself on so many levels, setting, politics, weather, customs, folklore, lifestyle, language, so I write everything down. Doesn’t all research go like this?
Writing helps one become more creative. As I try to express myself better I think of metaphors, comparisons or examples that sometimes link different ideas, feelings or situations. An exercise such as this, done for years, helps creativity, because it becomes easier to make unexpected connections.
Writing improves the memory and sprouts new ideas and thoughts. If I go back to stories I wrote five, ten years ago, I recognize the seed of an idea I developed only recently. But also anxieties I put out of my mind, because I wrote about them. Or events that I remember differently now, in a somehow detached way.
Writing urges you to read. As Stephen King said,’ If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write.’ And reading comes with its long list of benefits.
Writing teaches you to receive criticism. From mischievous comments to justified feedback, I got used to digesting everything and taking the essentials. While keeping some thoughts (and a smile) to myself.
Writing helps one become more empathetic. When I write something, anything, I have to put myself in the character’s skin, be it human or a doggo. It’s experiencing a second life while, at the same time, teaching me to take a step back and see things into perspective, while in my own skin.
Why do I write?
Writing bought me a cup of coffee, although I traded the security of a medical career for it. But it gives me the satisfaction of creating something with my own two hands (and with my mind and soul). Like baking or carpentry. Like architecture (my first love). Writing has never disappointed me and I have never felt drained, used up in an emotional way after writing. Exhausted, but energized at the same time. Okay, there are moments of despair here and now.
I write about people so as not to forget them, so as not to forget the good vibes they made me feel.
I write about people just to keep those parts of them that have managed to change certain parts of me or that have made me feel more than I thought I could feel.
Do animals experience emotions, do they show this by spontaneous changes in their behavior? And, as a result of the emotions they experience, do they have feelings?
The Incredible Friendship Between a BEAR, a LION and a TIGER
It was the beginning of the 21st century when three cubs were rescued from the home of a drug dealer where they were kept illegally as pets. Severely malnourished and scared, the salvation for an American Black bear cub, an African lion cub and a Bengal tiger cub came through Noah’s Ark Animal sanctuary.
This is when the cubs’ true friendship revealed itself. As the bear required an emergency operation, the lion and tiger cubs became agitated while their friend was gone. They refused food, paced their enclosure, vocalized and only stopped when the bear was safely returned to them. After this, the three cubs spent their entire time close together, clinging to one another for comfort and safety. They were named Baloo, Leo, and Shere Khan.
The bear, the lion and the tiger soon matured, yet they continued sharing the same habitat, playing, eating together and grooming one another. And they did so for 17 years. Sadly, Leo and Shere Khan passed away in 2016 and 2018 respectively, and Baloo was there for them in their final hours.
In the wild, Asian black bears and tigers do share the same territory in the Far East, but when they do meet, one of them is sure to be badly injured.
The Heartwarming Friendship Between a CHIMPANZEE and a DOG
There are quite a few cute chimps that struck lovely friendship with dogs, an undeniable proof that social connections between animals do mimic those between humans and their pets.
Often, when a chimp and a dog became friends it was the puppy who came to the baby chimp’s emotional rescue. Too many chimps are slaves of the illegal pet trade, and when they are finally rescued are found to be orphans.
What would happen, I asked myself, if a dog and a chimp met in the wild? Would they still play? Would they play fetch, perhaps? Pull faces at each other? Share naps?
The Unbelievable Friendship Between a CHEETAH and a DOG
Yes, cats and dogs can be friends. What about a wild cat and a canine? One such incredible pair were Kasi the cheetah and Mtani the Labrador. Mtani means “close friend” in Swahili.
What if the cheetah and the dog would meet in the wild, on the African planes? Would the mama-cheetah allow? Would the dog have human friends who would interfere with their unusual friendship?
The Amazing Friendship Between a LION and a DOG
A cute, brown Dachshund dog called Milo struck a remarkable friendship with a massive lion named Bonedigger when the latter became disabled due to illness. Somehow, the canine made its way to the sad lion’s heart and took the beast under his wing and the two remained the best of friends, even five years later. None of them cared that one weighs 11 pounds, while the other 500 pounds.
Enjoy their beautiful friendship evolving throughout the seasons:
The Loving Friendship Between an ELEPHANT and a SHEEP
Albert the sheep and Themba the elephant live in Shamwari Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in South Africa. Sadly, the elephant calf became an orphan after his mother died falling down a cliff. After a rocky start… the pair’s relationship blossomed, and they became the best of friends and Themba the elephant calf blossomed.
You can follow and enjoy their adventures in this book:
I turned to books and reading, as well as writing, many times over in my life, yet only lately have I thought about the idea of therapy through books and reading to stay happy.
Yet I am not the only one, nor am I the first, as since ancient times people have noticed the amazing healing power of art. As if by magic, negative emotions, whoosh, evaporate to be replaced with a state of peace and harmony.
Catharsis. Coined by Aristotle in Poetics to describe the effects of tragedy on the spectator, that of freeing the soul from suffering.
Bibliotherapy (book therapy, poetry therapy or therapeutic storytelling) uses creative arts as therapy. It involves storytelling, the reading of poetry or specific texts with the purpose of healing. It works by utilizing an individual’s relationship with the content of a text as therapy. Bibliotherapy is often combined with writing therapy. It has been shown to be effective in the treatment of depression.
You see, the concept that books, library therapy, bibliotherapy or reading can be used to stay happy started a few thousand years ago.
The inscribed marble above reads Psyches Iatreion, Healing Place of the Soul, and is found in the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian, Patmos, in the wall over the entrance to the Monastery’s Library. The inscription goes millenniums back. The same phrase was inscribed above the entrance of the sacred library of the tomb of Ramses II at Thebes. A similar one decorated the vast library of Alexandria, the largest and most significant library of the ancient world.
A very quick look at books, reading and their use as therapy throughout the centuries
Fast forward a few hundred years and we find the majority of Medieval people (men, women and children, rich and poor) to be illiterate, yet storytelling prevailed as people loved to hear stories, enjoyed listening to historical, religious or local folktales being read to them or simply recounted. It taught them lessons and morals, it connected them with their ancestors.
Worth remembering is that while most women living between the Dark Ages and the Age of Enlightenment could not write or sign their names, many could read, to some extent.
Then Gutenberg came, developing a press that mechanized the transfer of ink from movable type to paper. Printing was easier, faster.
And humanity dipped its foot in the Renaissance, freighted with famous writers, treasured texts, and a general curiosity about humankind. The Renaissance Man. Highly skilled writers (who were readers too) emerged, yet none was just a writer if one wanted to make a living.
The Enlightenment brought along the development of the educational systems in Europe that continued into the French Revolution, so literacy and learning were gradually provided to rich and poor alike. But bear in mind that historians measured the literacy rate during the 17th and 18th century centuries by people’s ability to sign their names.
The increase in literacy rate was mostly influenced by the fact that most schools and colleges were organized by clergy, missionaries, or other religious organizations, as literacy was thought to be the key to understanding the word of God. The reason which motivated religions to help to increase the literacy rate among the general public was because the bible was being printed in more languages. By 1714 the proportion of women able to read was approximately 25%, and it rose again to 40% by 1750, with literacy rates raising more quickly in predominantly Protestant Northern Europe than predominately Catholic southern Europe.
It was the Kingdom of Prussia who introduced a modern public educational system that will reach the vast majority of population, a system copied across Europe and the United States in the 19th century.
19th century medics and nurses working England’s psychiatric hospitals used to read to patients anything from novels and travel journals to the Bible. This was because works of fiction lend a helping hand to the readers (listeners) by giving them the opportunity to escape into another universe, to identify with a favorite characters (outside their own skin) and to be inspired by them.
World War II veterans were also recommended books to help them cope with post-traumatic stress.
Today, reading clubs are a real help to psychiatric institutions in improving the care for the elderly or for young people with disabilities or behavioral disorders.
What is the connection between books, therapy, bibliotherapy and that happy feeling?
A research done by the University of Sussex and quoted by The Telegraph showed that only six minutes of reading a day can reduce stress level with up to 68 %. Keeping an active mind proved protective against the development of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) later in life.
Simply turning the pages of a book and immersing oneself in reading gives the brain a state of relaxation similar to that produced by meditation, providing our health system with the same benefits as those of achieving a state of deep relaxation and inner calm. It has been found that people who read regularly sleep better, have lower stress levels, a higher self-esteem and are less predisposed to depression than those who do not have this habit.
Could there be more to paging through a book than the joys of reading?
Reading is often associated only with relaxing activities, with spending time in a pleasant way. But, in reality, reading is a very complex activity.
The University of Liverpool conducted a study between reading and increasing the quality of life and found that reading is not only good for our health, but can make us happier and more empathetic. In addition, many of participants in the study confessed that certain books inspired them to make those changes in their lives that they had long wanted to make.
Psychologist Becca Levy, an associate professor at Yale University, published a study in the Social Science & Medicine journal on the benefits of reading observed over twelve years. The conclusion is impressive: people who read regularly live 23 months longer than those who do not. Although it is not yet clear how reading can actually increase life expectancy, Dr. Levy and other scientists who participated in the study believe that it is due to the cognitive benefits of this activity – from the simultaneous integration of several brain regions and increased ability to concentrate , to the development of empathy and emotional intelligence.
How is all this possible?
Keith Oatley, a writer and professor emeritus of cognitive psychology at the University of Toronto, has led an extensive research on the psychology of fiction. “We started to show how identification with fictional characters appears, how literature can improve social skills, how it can move us emotionally and can quickly cause changes in the process of self-knowledge,” says Keith Oatley. After years of research and study on large groups of subjects, the Canadian psychologist concluded that reading fiction is “a simulation, but not on a computer, one that takes place in our minds – a simulation of our interaction with others, with the society, which implies the possibility to imagine our future under different variants.”
So, even if we do not realize this, when we read we experience hypothetical life situations that prepare us for the real ones. The advantage is that in the realm of fiction we do it without danger and without pain.
And so is writing.
I will leave you with Proust’s words:
“In reading, friendship is restored immediately to its original purity. With books there is no forced sociability. If we pass the evening with those friends—books—it’s because we really want to. When we leave them, we do so with regret and, when we have left them, there are none of those thoughts that spoil friendship: “What did they think of us?”—“Did we make a mistake and say something tactless?”—“Did they like us?”—nor is there the anxiety of being forgotten because of displacement by someone else. All such agitating thoughts expire as we enter the pure and calm friendship of reading.”
I have great admiration for Mairéad, both as a blogger and as a mother. So writing this piece for her, coming from the heart, was special.
It is a timeless subject, and I invite you to go over and read it. I talk about music, art and, you guessed it, writing. But mostly about dancing. So put on your dancing shoes and go see what everyone is talking about.
“Today it is with great pleasure to welcome back writer Patricia Furstenberg with a gorgeous post about how writing has helped her to discover her inner dance. Patricia and myself, through coincidence, discovered recently that we both share a passion for a particular painting thus inspiring her to write this piece. I really hope you enjoy.” Read on.
We’ve had a lovely summer here, with long and beautiful days and evenings ideal to read under the shade of a tree while enjoying a little treat, thus pairing books with chocolate sprang to life from the pages of many novels.
I’ve heard of pairing books with wine, so why not with chocolate? Books affect each reader in a different way; two people will describe the same chocolate in various ways. We understand and absorb a book through the perspective of our past experiences. We taste chocolate not only with our taste buds, but though all five senses: smell, sight, taste, touch, even by hearing.
‘We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are.”
Take a break with me. Discover new reads or new flavors of chocolate. And if you don’t have any nearby, don’t worry. At the end of this blog post there is a 1 minute, tried and tested, no-egg microwave brownie recipe 🙂 Our favorite!
In no particular order I paired:
A Convenant of Spies – Daniel Kemp
Unexpectedly unbreakable, but giving in if you know how to take it. Definitely not what it reveals to the eye. Gentle browns of a hard milk chocolate with extra cocoa, spicy with a hint of spirits that reveals itself on the back of the tongue.
Much like Daniel Kemp’s A Covenant Of Spies deals with British Intelligence investigating Russian operative. But look beyond the cover, to a complex tale featuring a net of lies and political cover-ups that will make you doubt tomorrow’s news headlines. An entertaining story of 21st century spies and tales of the Cold War sprinkled with clues till the end, it reminded me of Bridge of Spies. Book four in the ‘Lies and Consequences’ series, espionage, mystery thriller and crime. Daniel Kemp blogs here.
Life’s Rich Tapestry: Woven in Words by Sally Cronin
Mersi is an indulgent assortment of fine milk chocolate, nutty pralines, or bitter-sweet dark bites to spoil your taste buds with a new surprise in each tablet. Just like life itself.
I chose to pair Cronin’s Life’s Rich Tapestry with a selection of Merci chocolates because her book offers an indulgent collection of short stories, micro fiction and poetry that match so many of life’s moments. Her book made me smile and dream, it brought chuckles and it even made my eyes wet. Is a book you want to read on, as the author is a gifted writer, each chapter in her book a temptation, and so are the illustrations. An appreciated work of literary fiction. Sally blogs here.
Vanished by Mark Bierman
Dark, strong, and intense, chocolate at its finest and not for the soft-hearted, yet with a subtle aroma of raspberries and a salty aftertaste that only accentuates the quality of its cocoa. This is a no-mess, straight forward taste that lingers long after you ate it. Memorable.
Bierman’s novel Vanished reminded me of James Clavell’s King Rat. Much like Clavell, Bierman reels in the reader from the first chapter. The book blends the reality of everyday life in Haiti with the race of finding a missing child believed to be abducted by slave traders. Bierman will not allow you to shield your eyes from the reality of human trafficking. What he does wonderfully and makes this book worth a read is getting the reader to root for the two main characters, as well as for those oppressed. You will be drawn into their lives and hold thumbs, prying for a happy ending. Modern fiction at its best, shining a spotlight on the tragedy of child trafficking. A book with a powerful and important message. Mark Bierman blogs here.
Alfonso and the Monster (A Royal Tortoise Tale) by Susan Moffat
Imagine a cup of hot chocolate topped with tiny marshmallows. Soft and creamy, a joy to look at and a bliss in every sip. Marshmallows melting on the tongue, bringing back the cherished memory of camping fires and the tingling of Christmas.
I read Susan’s previous two books featuring adorable Alfonso, a snail prince, and became attached to this sweet little guy. This time he’s in the Land of Garden (how adorable this sounds!) and he tries his best at fighting what he imagines to be a monster, and does so in a very entertaining way. My favorite part must have been Alfonso’s facial expressions, Susan is a gifted artist.
When my kids were young I always chose gentle books for bedtime and they loved stories about animals who could talk. I would have chosen this one for sure ad they would have loved it. Susan blogs here.
The Memories We Bury by H. A. Leuschel
Hand made chocolate confectionery is a lush decadence I rarely I indulge in. With an inviting, sweet, outer shell dripping with a bitter espresso syrup, it surprises by offering a third flavor once you sink your teeth in. A trio of sinful almond, sweet milk chocolate, and dark coffee syrup – which one will dominate?
I had to pair this chocolate with Leuschel’s latest release, The Memories We Bury. Alternating between the POVs of its two main characters, The Memories We Bury weaves an intricate story of trust and betrayal, of a past we cannot run away from, a story that balances on the thin line bordering the healthy from the ill mind. While a third character watches from the shadows. Which is friend and which is foe? Highly recommend if you love books that delve into human psychology. Discover Helene here.
Academic Curveball: A Kellan Ayrwick Cozy Mystery (Braxton Campus Mysteries Book 1) by James J. Cudney
When I need comfort food or a pick-me-up desert, there is nothing like an old-fashioned chocolate fudge with its magical blend of aromas and textures. Slightly crunchy and chewy, salty, dark cocoa that turns into spice as it melts into a creamy dream. Pure indulgence.
So are classical cozy mysteries, like Cudney’s Academic Curveball, Braxton Campus Mysteries #1. This book is more than a mystery, it has a complex plot that reminded me of Christie’s writing (one of my all-time favorite authors), and plenty of intrigue too. You will discover a main character (a writer!) well penned, and on a mission amid old friends and new encounters, all in the world of academia. It is a book you will not want to put down till it’s end, a veritable a-ha moment. Well worth it, from an author you will want to remember. Listed as teen and young adult detectives and humorous fiction. James Cudney blogs here.
Dead Dry Heart by Toni Pike
I always wanted to compare chocolates that are not displayed in an assortment box. Mahogany, autumn brown, creamy white, all shades feasting the eye. To have the luxury of listening to the sound each slab makes as I snap a piece. Piling the broken chocolate shards with their various bits of nuts exposed. The anticipation of the first crispy bite, melting in various aromas, an explosion of cool, acidic cocoa, milky vanilla, and earthly nuts.
Crime noir and psychological thrillers are very much like this. Similar, yet different reads. Pike’s Dead Dry Heart is a crispy autumn brown fueled by the heat of an unforgiving Australian sun. When the past you want to forget comes back to haunt you at a time when, finally, all works out in your life, what is there to do? Stay on the side of the law or do anything to save your present life, the one you worked so hard towards? And, if someone helped you once, how much do you owe them? Decisions I surely don’t want to ever be faced with. A book with unexpected turns that will keep you reading past your bedtime, a main character you will develop mixed feelings towards, and even a few four-legged furry friends 🙂 Toni Pike blogs here.
Just Her Poetry Seasons of a Soul by D. L. Finn
The creamy, delicate flavor, never the same, of a box of chocolate assortments is poetry on the tongue. Quality milk chocolate crisp on the bite, only to release rivulets of various experiences, sweet, then salty, fruity, then buttery, spicy or creamy.
They compliment perfectly the harmony of Finn’s poetry selection. I don’t know about you, but I always find a moment for poetry in a day. Just Her Poetry Seasons of a Soul meets you with poems abut the beauty of nature, but also about emotions and life’s encounters. Either section you choose, Finn’s poetry will sooth raw emotions, but raise questions as well, for isn’t this one of the reasons we return to poems? By reading of another human being’s experiences we can overcome our own sad moments. By allowing a poet to uplift us, we relive a joyful experience, perhaps long forgotten. This is the magic of poetry and Finn is a master painter with her well chosen words. Highly recommended for your bedside table. Denise Finn blogs here.
The Orphans’ Plight: An African Adventure (Fauna Park Tales) by Maretha Botha
What can be sweeter than donuts glazed with chocolate? Crunchy when you bite, your teeth sinking in fluffy, heavenly soft doughnut. Pinks, stripes, stars, playful rings, bouncy shapes like a birthday jumping castle. No one can resist a doughnut!
Maretha Botha’s The Orphans’ Plight: An African Adventure is a wonderful addition to her Fauna Park Tales. Told through the eyes oh Hope the owl, it shows how dangerous life can be even in rural Africa. I liked the fact that animals could speak and we, as readers, could understand them. The illustrations are works of art on their own, created with such insight by the author herself. They compliment the story and are abundant in details. And, YAY, there is a dog too, Flame, and he has unusual sniffing abilities 🙂 Great read for smaller grades, lots to look at and plenty to learn, do allow your child to give it a try. Maretha blogs here.
1 minute Microwave, Egg-less Brownie – Tried and tested (and finished in under 1 minute)
It was a bet I did with my daughter over a Netflix movie, Designated Survivor, that made me think of how much writing is like baking cookies.
It was one of the heights in the series and I exclaimed ‘oh, no!’ – which I seldom do 🙂 Then the episode was over and it was bedtime for school kids.
… Yes, I could have stayed up and watched further since I am a grownup, but Designated Survivor is something we watch together, so I had to take one for the team… (Parents Guide on IMDB is UK 12+, US is TV-PG, and 15+ on Common Sense Media. I say 12+ and I am strict, ask around)…
My daughter and I were contradicting each other over what will happen next. I had a gut feeling that her prediction will be correct (she’s really good at this), but since I was keen on my forecast too, we decided to have a bet.
Whoever looses bakes cookies.
I am sure you will all agree that the boys in our house are the true winners here.
How Writing is like Baking Cookies? Read on.
It all starts with an idea.
We were excited right then and there. It didn’t matter who will win the bet anymore, we were going to have freshly baked cookies.
Whenever I get an idea for a new book (and I do, most of the time, wish I could clone myself) I get this tingling feeling, a surge of energy and I am HAPPY thinking about it. What will happen, where will I travel (most of my novels include some traveling), and will there be a dog? As all my books include (at least) one dog.
How do you feel when you think of freshly baked cookies in your kitchen? I feel bouncy. And I get a Christmasy feeling too.
Planning comes next
I think that even writers which are pantsers, who fly by the seat of their pants, do a little bit of planning when they begin work on a new book. I like to plan quite a bit. I have an outline, with plot points and acts, then I have my copy of synopsis where I write all that will happen, all the little details, the clues, the catches – in neat order.
My synopsis usually looks like a painter’s work. I start with the basics then I go over it again and again and again…
Baking cookies requires planning too, even if it happens on the spur of the moment – like our bet did. The least is co-ordinating the recipe with what’s in the pantry, right? And going one step back, any good cook will agree that a few basic things are always to be found in the pantry. I am just a mom of teens 🙂 therefor my pantry will always contain flour, sugar, oil, eggs – the very minimal basics.
I find the writing process highly addictive. Whether you write a blog, poetry or a book, the entire ritual of creating from scratch is addictive.
The anticipation is there to fill us up with excitement, with adrenaline and serotonin. Our hearts beat faster, there is more oxygenate blood reaching the brain, helping with the writing process. While the serotonin gives us that well-being and overall happiness.
Who wouldn’t want to feel that again and again?
There is anticipation in baking too. Memories of sweet vanilla and rich cocoa flooding our kitchen and sneaking through the rest of the house always come to mind… Shut doors miraculously opening and people with bright eyes and wide smiles emerging, subdued by the unseen power of the cookie scent… I love that.
Which cook doesn’t?
And there is the anticipation of the baking process itself. Baking is such a hands-on approach. Just like writing. The miracle of mixing powdery stuff with wet stuff still amazes me. Much like stirring words together into a story. How do they just work together?
With magic, my child.
The actual process of baking and writing. And the cleaning.
This might be the part where baking cookies and writing differ.
Everyone will tell you what a solitary job writing is.
It is a “leave me alone while I die” kind of activity. A self-doubting, lone-survivor, one-man kind of show.
Writing is the kind of act that makes a hero, but one no one knows. For to show up each day and do that tedious job of writing for weeks, months on end, with the only premise that one day, one day, you would have told that story that only YOU can and no one else wants to hear of right now, because only YOU know it intimately, love it, yet you are not able to make others fall in love with it until you write it – is the stuff that only heroes are made of. Unsung heroes. Writers.
The baking itself and the waiting is pretty awesome and Physical Science classes should include such experiments, don’t you think?
Mix chemical elements, organic compounds, solids and liquids, increase the temperature and prepare to be amazed.
Cleaning the kitchen is much like editing, I think. I don’t mind cleaning after we baked something, since the first wisps of that heavenly aroma begins rising to keep me company.
Editing fits right with cleaning. I find editing to be one of the most satisfying aspects of writing. Plus you get a few positive comments along the way, so craved, isn’t it? Especially after those emotionally fasting and draining weeks of writing.
The opening of the oven and the publishing
Usually our entire family is in the kitchen by now. Is it done yet? What about now? Plates are handed out. Watch out, it will burn. We have to wait five minutes. Ah, noooo. Okay, you can have a bit till it cools down. Yay! Love you, Mommy.
Seeing your book published is, I think, Ladies and Gentlemen, the moment we’ve ALL been waiting for since the idea for the story sparked in our hearts and minds, isn’t it?
And, Voila! Enjoy.
About Designated Survivor
Designated Survivor is a political thriller drama TV show about an obscure cabinet member who finds himself (and his family) thrust into the role of the United States president after a terrorist attack kills the president, vice president and most of Congress. What we like about it is that humanises the president and his immediate political circle. Highly recommended.
One of my favorite episodes was the one when President Kirkman went in a secret mission in Afghanistan, the location of my latest book. It was exhilarating to see him meeting with infamous warlords to determine whom he can trust to hand over territories to the United States – which is part of the political agenda revealed in my Silent Heroes novel (read the opening pages here.
Rich Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe
125 g butter or margerine
30 ml castor sugar
125 ml condensed milk (in all honesty we used 100 ml water to avoid dairy)
375 ml (210 g) self- raising flour (or normal flour and add 2,5g baking powder)
80 g chocolate chips (we smashed a slab of chocolate – it was fun!)
Cream butter, sugar, add condensed milk / water and beat well. Stir in flour (if using baking powder, add it in the flour). Last, add the chocolate bits. Try no to eat (too many).
Place teaspoonfuls on a greased baking tray dusted with flour. Flatten slightly with a fork.
Bake in a preheated oven at 160 degrees Celsius for 15 -20 min (we baked for over 30 min).
The recipe says turn onto a wire rack to cool. I say that is impossible. Have a glass of milk ready and dig in 🙂 Careful, it will be hot.
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I read 5 Books Everyone Should Read in Their Lifetime once, twice, rubbed my eyes and read it again as lovely Mani has listed my novelSilent Heroes alongside titles by Jodi Picoult and Ken Follett! So I am sharing my joy with you!
There is no greater joy for a writer but when one of his books is remembered, months after publication, and mentioned as having made an impact on the reader. A lasting impact.
I write wishing to wake up feelings, to lift a veil, to inform without being tiresome. I write with joy for what I want to impart, for what I discovered, or for what it should be revived. My books always hold a grain of truth. And they always include (at least) a dog.
If you follow my blog you do know that I don’t brag about my writing achievements. But this list of Top 5 Books Everyone Should Read in Their Lifetime just blew my mind…
Last week Mani compiled her 5 Books (to date) Everyone Should Read in Their Lifetime:
Jodi Picoult’s Handle With Care is a contemporary emotional drama.
Shantaram by Gregory Roberts is a contemporary thriller drawing from the author’s own experiences.
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett’s Pbook is a historical fiction set during the 12th century.
Hugo’s Les Miserables is nearly 1 300 pages of French history recounted through the personal stories of its main characters.
If you don’t have an e-reader you can still read eBooks on your PC with Kindle App, just follow these quick steps:
Step 1: Install Kindle for PC App on PC. …
Step 2: Open the Application. …
Step 3: Sign in the Kindle App with your Amazon Account. …
Step 4: Download a Book from Your Cloud. …
Step 5: Open the Kindle Books to be Read on PC.
Mani readSilent Heroes last year and shared her impressions on her website concluding with “this review doesn’t do this book any justice, BUT it’s such a great read that I really can’t express how much I enjoyed it. If your looking for a fast paced read I really can’t recommend this book highly enough. It’s a definite must read.” (gosh).
Silent Heroes was also featured on Mani’s Best Books of 2019 alongside books by C.J. Tudor, Alex Michaelides, and Cara Hunter. Yay!
On January the opening lines of Silent Heroes were included in her First lines Friday blog post 🙂 YAY! I love that opening paragraph! 🙂 I think is the one I spent the most time revising 🙂 Mani also said on another occasion that it “nearly brought tears” to her eyes when she read Silent Heroes… (Goodness!)