The Twitter Reading Community At Its Best: how a small question to Penguin Books resulted in life-changing reading results

“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.”
~ Borges

The internet generally, and social media platforms in particular, can sometimes be rather treacherous places. But overall, I like to think that they are mostly friendly community places where we can share common interests with both people we know, and people we have never met. Last week, as a result of a spur of the moment Tweet, I was delighted to be proved absolutely right in this view when something very unexpected and rather wonderful happened.

I happened to notice on Twitter that Penguin Books were inviting people to ask them for reading recommendations. On a whim, I posted the following Tweet:


The aforementioned friend has been trying for ages to get into reading. I had furnished her with lots of recommendations. But nothing seemed to be working. Why not, I thought, see if Penguin can help?

Sure enough, they replied with a very interesting recommendation:


A few others also made suggestions, which was both unexpected and nice. And a trickle of replies quickly turned into something of a deluge. To my amazement, I received an incredible range of recommendations from nearly 200 people!!!

I have put together this resulting book list, which makes for fascinating reading in itself. Many of the books here are not ones which I would have thought of for a first-time reader. Several people went for The Hobbit for example – not a book I would have picked. But that’s the beauty of diverse input. Everyone has a different and equally valid perspective. There are also plenty of excellent titles which I read and enjoyed ages ago and had completely forgotten about.

Perhaps most important of all though is that my friend has had a lovely time sifting through all the suggestions and feels inspired to take the reading plunge. She has now joined all us regular readers in the formulation of a To Be Read list. Surely an important step forward in any reading life!

Her top picks for starters are:

  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, by Mark Haddon;
  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, by Gaile Honeyman;
  • The Uncommon Reader, by Alan Bennett;
  • Skipping Christmas, by John Grisham.

I have read the first three of these and I think it is a great list.

She has also found all the Twitter replies helpful in identifying types of books to consider. Several people recommended thinking about one’s interests and finding related books. My friend is really keen on travel and we agreed that finding novels set in places she would like to visit sounds perfect. I can relate to this. I love Paris (who doesn’t?!) and always enjoy novels which include something Parisienne. I am really looking forward to reading Sebastian Faulks’ new novel, Paris Echo when it arrives from the library.

So let me say a big thank you to Penguin Books and all those lovely folks who took the trouble to let me have their thoughts and suggestions. And it doesn’t have to end there. Which title would you recommend? I am happy to keep adding to the list….. πŸ˜€πŸ“š

β€œA book is a dream that you hold in your hand.”
~ Neil Gaiman


100 Days of Creativity: it’s a wrap!

On 13 June 2018, I embarked somewhat rashly, or so it seemed at the time, on an art project that would last 100 consecutive days. I committed myself to producing and publishing a piece of digital art each day.

Writing about it at that time, I wondered whether I would be able to complete the project. I spoke rather modestly about creating ‘doodles’. Β But overall, I was hoping that it would work, because I had long wished to create a daily art habit.

Well, I did it folks! On 20 September, I published for the 100th day in a row, producing a total of 107 images (on some days, I built up a head of steam and published more than one picture).


Fireworks marking the 100th day of my project


It has been an amazing journey. I learned so much about creating images, making improved use of my digital art tools, and perhaps most importantly, my own style as an artist.

I’ll be reflecting further on what the project has taught me in future posts. But for now, I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported me all through this project. Whether you have joined me via instagram, facebook or this blog, it has meant the world to me to have all the likes and comments. I’ve really enjoyed sharing my art with everyone, and having such warm and positive feedback to spur me on each day.



So what’s next? First, I have arranged for all the images created for the project to be publicly available. I hope people will enjoy using the artwork for cards, wallpaper, blog posts or any other personal endeavour. You can read more about this, and find links to my new Flickr account here. Feel free to have a browse through the pictures – do you have any favourites? I’d love to know.

And for the future, I will continue to create images for free personal use. I will probably give myself a few days off, but watch this space for possible sightings of some spooky Halloween images! πŸŽƒ