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Two Thousand and Tyranny

1000 word extract of a novel I began writing this year, based on the London riots,  Two Thousand and Tyranny.

6th August 2011

I flicked through my tattered notepad and tried to find her name. What was it? I had written it down yesterday and had painstakingly ensured her name was spelt correctly. There it was. Sumani Youlou Fransendger, age thirty-three and a protestor at Redham Court Flats last week. Pompous Paul had instructed me to find out all I could about her background as a protestor and find a creative way to angle “protester strapped to flats for three days, crumbles”. His eyebrows remained raised and pointed throughout the team meeting this morning.

For the past month of working at the paper, Paul had worn the exact same suit. His reliable grey pinstriped suit perfectly ironed with padded shoulders and no marks. He complemented this look with an off white shirt, black tie and impeccably shiny, grey snake-skin shoes. I imagined his wardrobe; identical outfits hung neatly from wooden hangers in chronological day order. Every day he manages to arrive ten minutes after everyone else: a Starbucks coffee in one hand, a briefcase in the other and always, without fail, a serious motionless face.

A distraught yell banished the images of my daunting news editor, snapping me back into reality and back within the walls of my red Fiesta. Outside Tottenham police station stood three figures in black surrounding a young, short male police officer. One of the trio, a girl easily identifiable by her curvaceous figure, was waving her arms frantically and her mouth was moving at an unimaginable speed. The other two were shifting from side to side and towering way above the police figure that now resembled a trembling mess.

In front of the station a huddle of protestors stood with banners offering support for Sumani. The older protestors in the group remained stationary clinging to their signs whilst the younger protestors reeled off numerous expletives and made disgruntled, animalistic noises.

The sound of screeching tyres came from a white Honda Civic that mounted the curb on the road opposite. Out of the front window a boy, no older than fourteen, stuck out his arm and chucked what seemed to look like a bright sparkler. I watched in horror as it fell in front of the young policeman and the trio scattered. An explosion of orange flames caught the officer’s trousers. Out of nowhere stones and bricks were being hurled at the front of the police station. Smashing of glass and cries of terror were the background noise to a high pitch alarm ringing indefinitely.

I froze. I was unsure whether to stay within the safety of my car or advance towards a scene of chaos and the unknown. Come on Joanna you need a good story after all. Breathe. I am a reporter, this is my job.

Read more…

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Book swapping: a novel idea

The Guardian is leaving 15,000 novels around the UK for people to find and read. Publishers and authors have joined this campaign to encourage reading and swapping books with one another.

The idea is to give your favourite novel away and leave a message within the cover for your ‘new’ reader. This is a fantastic idea and people can follow where books are left and the new journey their favourite novel has taken. You can follow this exciting adventure on Twitter: #guardianbookswap and upload photographs and a commentary following the progress of your swap.

Sharing books is an idea that has been around for a long time. Books clubs and societies ensure groups of people can empathise with one another on their precious novels. Swapping books also ensures they do not end up in your loft, being neglected and gathering dust. Readitswapit is an ingenious website that lets users swap their books for books they want to read, with the small cost of posting.

The internet also makes reading and novels more accessible. The Guardian are also offering this weekend a free audiobook download of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy in the Saturday Guardian.

So prepare your favourite novel for a real adventure and read some helpful tips on swapping. Write that stranger a memorable note and get ready to book swap. The story begins this weekend.

The Passage, Justin Cronin

The Passage by Justin Cronin is a gripping post apocalyptic novel that you have to read this summer. The military believe they can engineer and train a new breed of soldiers whom are indestructible. By testing the virus on twelve inmates on death row, the military try to achieve their dream.

However, the dream turns into a nightmare with the twelve subjects, virals, escaping, killing and destroying the world.

The world before the virus.

Blood sucking vampires (virals), Amy, an FBI agent, a nun, the army, survivors. The array of characters keeps you interested and the characters lives soon cross over as the plot unravels. One of the main character Amy, a young girl of six years old, is the enigma of the novel: she
has telepathic abilities, can communicate with the virals and is actually over one hundred years. You are constantly questioning her being: what is she? What are her powers?

The novel explores a range of emotions: courage, loss, faith and a human’s fight for survival. Cronin beautifully describes the fear felt by the characters when facing the hungry and crazed virals. The scenes are well written with gruesome and gritty details guaranteed to make you squirm!

The novel’s ending does not offer a resolution, however this is deliberate as Cronin is creating a trilogy: The Passage, The Twelve and The City of Mirrors. Visit Amazon to get your hands on this epic novel! The second in the series is out in October 2012, so the wait is nearly over…

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