Thursday, 26 November 2009

'Hidden Talents' by Erica James

This book was such a one-off that I decided that I just had to give it a blog of its own - particularly as I am reading it at this particular point in my life.

Erica James is an author that I have discovered recently - see my previous blog entry on 'Serendipitous Moments' - 'You can't judge a book by its cover?', where I refer to her books.

Well, I went into one of my local libraries the other day and picked up 2 more books by Erica James - if I find an author and/or musician that I particularly enjoy, I like to get to know, enjoy and appreciate more of their work. So, I borrowed 'Hidden Talents' (published by Orion Book, London, in 2002) in this frame of mind, without reading much of what it was about, on the back of the book.

Anyway, I discovered that 'Hidden Talents' is about a Writer's Group. Why this is particularly significant for me right now is because, although I have read fiction all my life, it is only now that I am very seriously turning my thoughts to the idea of writing a novel myself! So, it all seemed quite fortuitous. The Writer's Group in 'Hidden Talents' consists of 5 interesting characters; Dulcie Ballanytne who runs the group and is in love with a married man; Beth King who is facing empty-nest syndrome and is having a relationship with a cyberman (!); Jack Solomon who is rebuilding his life after his wife leaves him for his best friend; Jaz Rafferty, a teenager who writes as a way of escaping from her boisterous family and Victor Blackmore, a conceited man that thinks he is well on the way to writing best-sellers, whilst no-one else in the group rates his work much!

A couple of quotes particularly struck a chord with me.

One is where Jaz Rafferty "...withdrew and immersed herself in books, reading herself into other people's lives, happily escaping her own." (p.8) I know that feeling very well; and I am sure that many other people read novels for these reasons as well. Another is a comment about writers writing about themselves.

" was glaringly obvious to Beth that she, Jack and Jaz were writing about themselves. Apparently most writers did this when they embarked on their first novel." (p.148)


Anyway, I won't say any more, other than to recommend the book and to say that, once again, this book also has a lovely cover - this time of a lady sitting on a bench in a park, reading a book.

Here is the cover.

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