What’s on the Bookshelf? Vol. 14

What's On the Bookshelf?

Up to 14 already? And I don’t even review every book I read (though it sure seems like it!)

The Irregulars by Jennet Conant is a remarkable story. Its the story of the British spy ring in WWII Washington, and focuses specifically on Roald Dahl (yes, he of James and the Giant Peach).

While I found Conant’s writing a bit prone to cliches (or at least over familiar turns of phrase) at times, the story line is absolutely fascinating. Truth really is more interesting than fiction. The characters are larger than life, but at the same time, real. Dahl, the charismatic RAF pilot. David Ogilvy, the polling genius. William Stephensen, the Canadian head of the BSC. And, of course, Ian Fleming.

There are some real laugh-out loud moments (intentional, I’m sure), as these amatuer spies are quite spirited.

I’d wanted to read this book since Entertainment Weekly reviewed it last year…and my roommate had me read some of Dahl’s adult short stories (including “Genesis and Catastrophe” which I urge everyone to read).

This book is really what got me thinking that my WIP should be set during WWII. I was half way there already. I just needed the proper encouragement.

And somehow, in one photograph and a paragraph, I got on a Leslie Howard kick. Must update my Netflix queue.

Recommended for any one who has an interest in WWII espionage or Roald Dahl.

Thank you, RAF and Leslie Howard.

The Twirl and Swirl of Letters

As of late, my WIP has had a bit of an identity crisis. Should I be spec fic? Should I be historical fiction? Should I be flat out space opera sci fi?

I think I’ve finally figured it out.

Historical. Historical historical historical.

What is this madness?

Well, as I’ve previously said, I’ve been researching WWII/The Resistance for said WIP, as some historical inspiration. Turns out WWII is even more fascinating once you get down into the more obscure aspects of it (okay, maybe not obscure, but definitely not what I learned in high school). There’s so much potential for my characters, and the betrayals will be much more “oh crap.”

I might keep something of a fantastical element, as my main character Liv is now an RAF pilot…gremlins galore. Or at least mentions of them.

Leslie Howard gets the nod because the circumstances surrounding his death are fascinating, and, perhaps, a subplot/novel in its own right.