TBU#35: 23 for 2023 Reading Challenge — Here's how we're tracking ;)

Episode 35 October 10, 2023 00:38:56
TBU#35: 23 for 2023 Reading Challenge — Here's how we're tracking ;)
Two Booked Up
TBU#35: 23 for 2023 Reading Challenge — Here's how we're tracking ;)

Oct 10 2023 | 00:38:56


Hosted By

Rowena Mabbott Shelley Tonkin Smith

Show Notes

Shelley and Rowena are excited to share with you this Bonus episode of Two Booked Up. They are technically taking a break between podcast seasons but couldn’t resist sharing an update about how they have been going with the 2023 Two Booked Up Reading Challenge!

The 23 for 2023 Reading Challenge brings a bit more intentionality and diversity into their non-fiction reading lives — with a nice little bit of fun, too! 

The Reading Challenge is a checklist of 23 different categories of books, and as you’ll hear in this episode, you can make the challenge your own, but the main aim is to inspire you to read more and more widely — try out a few authors or genres you wouldn’t normally have tried.

It’s not too late to join the Challenge. And you’ll have plenty of inspiration and some book recommendations to get you started because, in this episode, Shelley and Rowena will share some of the non-fiction books that made it onto their lists for the Challenge. And they also share a couple of favourite fiction reads from the last few months. 

You’ll be adding a few books to your TBR list after this episode! 

Episode Links Mentioned

Non-Fiction Books Mentioned

Rowena’s List

Shelley’s List

Fiction Books Mentioned

Rowena’s Choices

Shelley’s Choices

Additional Links Mentioned


The Two Booked Up 23 for 2023 Reading Challenge

Have you signed up for the Two Booked Up 23 for 2023 Reading Challenge? This is a playful way you can build a reading habit and bring some intention to your reading life. We’ll be talking about the books we’ve each been reading for the Challenge in our next episode.

Sign up for your PDF Checklist for the Two Booked Up 23 for 2023 Reading Challenge here

When you download the PDF, we’ll add you to our Two Booked Up Email list so that we can continue the fun together (but you can unsubscribe anytime).

Connect with us:

Find us online at twobookedup.com and keep in touch with Two Booked Up via email by signing up for the Two Booked Up Bookclub.

Connect with Rowena @rowenamabbott on IG and at rowenamabbott.com. You can also get Rowena’s FREE e-book, The A - Z of Career and Life Confidence here.

Connect with Shelley @shelleysmithcreative on IG and @ShelleyTSmith on Twitter. Her copywriting business is at shelleysmithcreative.com and her writing and other musings are at shelleytonkinsmith.com.

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Episode Transcript

Two Booked Up Episode 35 [00:00:00] Rowena: Hello and welcome to Two Booked Up. I'm Rowena Mabbott here with Shelley Tonkin Smith, and we are technically taking a break between seasons, but we couldn't resist just popping back into your feed to share an update about how we've been going with our 2023 Two Booked Up Reading Challenge. [00:00:24] Shelley: It's great to be back with this bonus episode about the 23 for 2023 Reading Challenge. This challenge brings a little bit more intentionality and diversity into your non fiction reading lives, with a nice little bit of fun too. Now the Reading Challenge is simply a checklist of 23 different categories of books, and your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to read a book that fits into each category or as many categories as you can, because as you'll hear in this episode, you can make the challenge your own, but our main aim is to inspire you to first of all, read more and then to read more widely. So try out a few authors or genres that you wouldn't normally have tried. [00:01:16] Rowena: And I know the year is almost up, but it is not too late to join the challenge. And if nothing else, you'll get some inspiration for choosing your next nonfiction read. You can sign up and get the checklist for free at signup.twobookedup.com. And now you're going to get plenty of inspiration and some book recommendations today because we will be sharing some of the non fiction books that have made it onto each of our lists for the challenge. We'll also share a couple of our favorite fiction reads from the last few months. We're sure you'll be adding quite a few books to your TBR list after this episode. [00:01:53] Shelley: As if my TBR list wasn't long enough, so we'd better get going. This is the Two Booked Up Podcast, where we talk about books, [00:02:07] Rowena: The books that are challenging us to live more intentional lives [00:02:10] Shelley: the books that are equipping us on our business and professional journeys. [00:02:14] Rowena: and the books that delight and bring us joy. [00:02:18] Shelley: So, if you want to live life with more intention, and if you want to be doing work that brings you joy, then come and join the bookish conversation with me, Shelley Tonkin Smith. [00:02:28] Rowena: And me, Rowena Mabbott here on Two Booked Up. [00:02:31] Shelley: Alright, so let's dive into how the Reading Challenge is going. A quick reminder of why we developed the 23 for 2023 Reading Challenge. First of all, reading nonfiction, as we do here on Two Booked Up, can seem very serious, especially those books that are more geared towards self improvement and informing ourselves. So those business and professional development books, those self improvement books and so on. And so we thought, why not, let's make a game out of it to make it a little bit more fun to read nonfiction. So if you want to learn more about The reading challenge itself and how we set it up, you can listen to episode 22, where we launched and introduced the challenge. And in episode 28, we did our first check in, that was at around about May this year. And so now we're doing another check in, so you can go back and listen to those episodes if you want to kind of do it all in order. [00:03:36] Rowena: Now we've just finished season two of our Two Booked Up Podcast, and one of our themes was doing things with intention. And when we discuss being more intentional with our reading, what we mean is actively choosing. So the aim of our reading challenge, is to inspire us and you to read a few books that are perhaps not your usual choice, um, and help you widen your reading tastes. And the same thing applies to Shelley and I. We've been reading things that are not our usual choices and we've definitely been widening our reading tastes. The reason we want to do this is because when we do it, it builds our creativity, our empathy for others, and our own self awareness. So many good things. [00:04:23] Shelley: Yes, absolutely. There's just so much joy and goodness that can come out of reading more widely and not just sort of reading the same old, same old. Um, and I will say that since we caught up last with this challenge, I've bought a lot more books than I've actually read. So as I say, my TBR list is way longer than my list of completed books. There's my guilty confession. But. Isn't this the joy of this challenge that we're choosing books, either choosing books from the library or on Amazon or going to the bookstore with this intentionality in mind? Honestly, I feel like I'm building my own library of books with all the books that I'm buying, but I'm So happy with the diversity and the intentionality that I'm able to choose books now with this challenge. And I also just feel, Ro, that, um, sometimes we feel like we don't have the time to read. And I've gone through quite a period now, the last few months of feeling like, oh my goodness, I don't have the time to read. But I've started to realize that it's more a symptom of two more underlying problems, the root problems. It's not that we don't have the time to read as such. It's, um, we sometimes feel like there is too much to read. So this can be my problem with my. long TBR list, and also many incomplete books in my wake. So by having this list, it kind of just like goes, okay, well, just try and read these 23 books or even, you know, just a few. Um, and I think the second problem is. The almost opposite of that is we feel like we don't know what to read. So when there is time to read, uh, we just don't have a book ready and, or we just, you know, maybe the book on the nightstand that we do have ready isn't what we feel like in that moment. So for me, I've found that the reading challenge has given me a nice system to organize my reading a bit, and I still have quite a long TBR list, but I've organized it into those categories in the checklist. So it feels a lot less overwhelming and it's helped me to have a few books lined up and ready so that when there is time for reading, like we were just on holiday, um, I've got a few choices and I can choose what I'm, what I feel like reading. So. That's just the background and how the challenges really benefit in me and I think how it can benefit our listeners. But Rowena, I'd like to start with you and can you give us an update on how you're tracking with the 23 for 2023 reading challenge? [00:06:59] Rowena: I would love to. Thank you, Shelley. But I just want to acknowledge and agree with you for a minute because I have more. books on my TBR list than actually checked off two. And I think it's probably a genuine, yeah, yeah, it's a thing. I think it's a genuine risk for many of us, especially when we really love reading and we always see new titles we'd love to read. I know I bought just another book yesterday, for example, another nonfiction book. So I suspect that I could have The 23 for 2023, like multiple times over, but I won't be able to read them all this year. Oh no, no, no. Come on. That's craziness. [00:07:35] Shelley: That is craziness. [00:07:36] Rowena: dear. That is craziness. [00:07:37] Shelley: I won't put that on you, Miss Upholder. [00:07:40] Rowena: No, thank you. I will just deftly dodge that. Um, so let's get back to the point of your question, which was how am I tracking? So I am very proud to say that my total nonfiction reads this year, as at the time of recording, which is in September, is 21. So I am very close to [00:07:58] Shelley: Nice. [00:08:00] Rowena: I know, it's pretty good. So I won't list all the books I've read because you listen back to episode 28 for the complete list of the books I'd read up until that point. And so what I'm going to do is... I'm going to share with you those that I've read since May, and I have put them in order of the list, so if you're playing along at home, or you have a copy of the list at home, you can see what I've popped into each category. So number one, memoir. I read Whole Notes by Ed Ayres. Number three, Female Author, The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer. Number five, a classic, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. That was actually recommended to me by my coaching academy. Number eight, an audiobook, The Third Space by Adam Fraser. Number 10, a famous author you've avoided, Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell. Number 13, business theme, The Power of Giving Away Power by Matthew Barzun. Number 15, Finances Theme, Fabulous But Broke, by Melissa Brown. Number 17, How To Guide, The Life List, Master Every Moment To Live An Audacious Life, by Kate Christie. Number 19, Autobiography, Did I Ever Tell You This, by Sam Neill. And number 22, Style You Wouldn't Normally Read, The Instant, by Amy Liptrot. So I've got the only two, yeah, right? It's pretty, I was very impressed. [00:09:24] Shelley: you there because I, there's also, they have such captivating titles, . They sound super intriguing. [00:09:29] Rowena: Yeah. Right. I think that's partly why I chose them because I was like, Ooh, that sounds, that sounds like it could be fun to read. [00:09:35] Shelley: Yes. [00:09:37] Rowena: And careful listeners may notice that if you have been listening to us for a while, you might notice I've kind of switched things up a bit since May because in May I had work style as my business theme book, but I've switched it because I popped Workstyle into multiple authors.. I think taking a lead from you, Shelley, you'd had work style as multiple authors, um, because I had another book that I thought lent itself better to the business theme, which is the power of giving away power. And I guess I wanted to just draw on that for a minute, because that is kind of the beauty. I think of this challenge is that it is completely flexible. And if you're playing along like us, you are very welcome to make it your own and fit the books you read into the list. So for example, The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer could have been in classic. It could have been audiobook because I listened to it. It could even have been Southern Hemisphere author or famous author I've avoided. So it could have fit into all sorts of different categories. Um, I just made it fit the category I still had outstanding. So feel free to do that if you're playing along too. And like Shelley shared in May, I've done the same. I've done that. Shelley's done a little bit of role modeling here for me. So last time Shelley shared that her autobiography book was technically a memoir. And mine is too. I borrowed it from the library thinking it would be an autobiography. And when I got it, I realized, Oh no, this is a memoir, but that's okay. Cause the intention was to read more widely and that has happened. So the last. Two categories I have left are number 21, Recommended by a Friend, and number 22, You Own But Haven't Read. Now I have to say, both of these have more than one option, as like Shelley, my TBR pile has been growing faster than I've been reading, but I would also say that both of those categories can be completed by, uh, a gift that Shelley sent me recently, but more about that. A little later in our episode. [00:11:32] Shelley: Well, as I said, all of those books that you've read, such, such captivating titles and such a diverse range of books. Um, really, I think that's such a good example, Ro, of how the reading challenge helps to diversify our reading life. But I actually want to know which one is your favorite. [00:11:50] Rowena: it was such a hard decision. Each one had merit but it was a very hard decision between the Life List by Kate Christie and Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell, but for very different reasons. But what I decided was embracing the spirit of this challenge. Talking to strangers would be my pick because. It was, he was definitely an author that I had avoided, um, and the subheading, the subheading perhaps gives a clue as to why this became my favorite, because the subheading of Talking to Strangers is what we should know about the people we don't know. So. Malcolm Gladwell is an author I thought I wouldn't enjoy. And I'd had him recommended to me by a number of different people. And I had actively avoided reading any of his books. So when I have had coaches recommend it to me, I've had some of my clients recommend it to me. I've had, um, even friends have said, I think you really enjoy this. And I've thought, no, I wouldn't. And I've had a little. Read of the back of the blurbs or whatever. And I thought, eh, it sounds a bit serious and I just avoided it. So I thought it was quite, it was a stretch for me to go and read it. And then I was very pleasantly surprised that I really enjoyed Malcolm Gladwell's writing style and his in depth approach to the simple premise that he poses in this book, which is, why are we bad at Talking to Strangers? Now, for our listeners, I want to acknowledge that I listened to the audio book of Talking to Strangers, which is actually a very different experience than a regular audio book. It's more like a podcast because in the audio book version, it's a full production. So you hear the voices of the people he interviewed, scientists, criminologists, military psychologists. Sometimes they're a little hard to understand because it's like the recording quality is not great. So I suspect if you really wanted to be like, if you're going to study it, you would probably want to have a paper or printed copy, but they also do like court transcripts are brought to life with reenactments. And you hear the contentious arrest of American woman, Sandra Bland, by the side of the road in Texas, because it's all been captured on the policeman's audio files, which is quite confronting actually. Like it's a really It's quite emotional to listen to that. And then Gladwell also revisits the Deceptions of Bernie Madoff, The Trial of Amanda Knox, The Suicide of Sylvia Plath, which I was interested in because I'd studied her poetry. And so a lot of these, you hear directly from a lot of the players in these real life tragedies. And so the summation of all of that is that Malcolm Gladwell shows that there is something wrong with the tools and strategies that we generally use to make sense of people we don't know. And because of this, because we don't know how to talk to strangers, we invite conflict and misunderstanding in ways that have a massive effect on our lives and the world. Now that's a really serious thing, but I found that it was intriguing. And I wanted to keep listening to it, which I think is a pretty big wrap for a non fiction book. [00:14:48] Shelley: Yes. And, and an author that you felt was so serious and you know, that you really weren't drawn to at all. So the fact that he is now hit your, your favorite of, of the list is saying something and Wow. That, I mean, the premise of the book sounds. Sounds really intriguing and really needed in today's world, you know, oh my goodness, like, just thinking on all the fights that you know, on a national level here in South Africa about education legislation and you name it. I think so often we, we actually, we can't see that other person's side. So it sounds like a real bridge building kind of book. Um, just like something that shakes up your thinking. But I'm also really impressed, Rowena, that you've been keeping a pretty steady clip of reading, even though you've been writing your own novel, as the listeners will remember. More about that later. I'd love to know just how writing has affected your reading life. Do you find that you read as much as usual when you're on a writing project as you have been? [00:15:55] Rowena: Oh, such a good question. I actually slowed down my reading a lot, like big capitals, a lot, um, because I was focused on my writing for most of the winter and I didn't really want to muddy the waters. What I did find, which was probably quite beneficial to why I've done 21 books out of the 23, is I found it was much easier to read non fiction when I was writing fiction, because that didn't seem to make things blurry in my head.. But I also read an article. Yeah, I read an article at the end of July that said Danielle Steele, that absolutely prolific author, I think she's written like 300 and something books, never reads another author's work when she is writing a book. And she has like six books on the go at any given time and writes for 20 hours a day or something insane. So she basically never reads anybody else's work. And I thought that was probably taking it to like a far too big of an extreme, but I figured if I was taking a sort of greatly watered down approach, then that would be okay [00:16:56] Shelley: yes, [00:16:56] Rowena: anyway, Shelley. What nonfiction books have you been reading? I'm sure our listeners would love to know. [00:17:03] Shelley: Yeah. So I, I have read a lot less, as I mentioned earlier, over the last few months. But I've also got a few books that I've put on pause or I've just abandoned altogether. I have no fear in doing that. But I've kind of felt they, they weren't the books that I needed at the time. So, so just a little tip with this reading challenge, you can have some books that are just there on the boil and they're on pause and you can come back to them later. Uh, so just permission to do that. So in the memoir category, I have. Reread, On Writing, A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King. In the category of a book you've been meaning to read, I chose Start With Why by Simon Sinek. And then in the Southern Hemisphere author category, I've put Chill and Prosper by Denise Duffield Thomas. And I did the same thing as you have done, I've moved it into there for now, I might just find a South African author there. But I've started another book in the audio book category, which fits nicely there. And that's The Power of Moments by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. And I started reading that one because I also had two people recommend I read it and I've read their Other books before, um, Made to Stick, I really enjoyed. So, so that one, I'm in the middle of the Power of Moments on audiobook. And then I have got another one that is a recommended by a friend book that's called The Future of Education by Kieran Egan. And I mean, it was recommended by an internet friend or an influencer, uh, Brandon Hendrickson at. A site called science is weird that I use with my homeschooling. But to be honest, I think I get more benefit out of science is weird than my kids. I just love learning new things. And he did a whole series on education by Kieren Egan. And, um, so I started this one on Kindle, but it's really a bit of a textbook, quite a heavy read. So. I put that one on pause and I've ordered it in hard copy and I plan to finish it like that. [00:19:14] Rowena: Ah, very smart. I love that you are acknowledging that different formats sometimes suit different books better because I think we've had this conversation before, Shelley, in that especially for nonfiction, I know you found this and I found the same. If there are concepts that we might want to return to. Sometimes a paper version is preferable to an audio book version or even an e book version. So I love that you, acknowledging that. I also want to just... validate and say it is perfectly okay to pause a book and come back to it. Many non fiction books are designed for you to dip in and out of and that's perfectly okay. There's not a narrative arc that you're going to miss out on. Sometimes you need to skip, skip around and jump in between chapters and you need to read the book that you need in that moment and that is the beauty of a non fiction book. So I just want to. Give you a thumbs up on that. I'm also very interested to hear your take on the power of moments because I have had that recommended to me too, but I haven't read it. So that, that might be one that I'll be like, Oh no, Shelley says it's really good. Maybe I better add it to my TBR list as well. So on that note, which one is your favorite? And why? [00:20:31] Shelley: well, I am naming my favorite On Writing by Stephen King. Now, as I mentioned, this is a reread. So, It's a reread, but I think I first read it back in about 2010. So I don't know if it even constitutes as a, as a reread. [00:20:47] Rowena: yes, it does. It completely does. [00:20:50] Shelley: If it's, if it's past my eyes at some point in my life, it's a reread. [00:20:54] Rowena: yeah, correct. [00:20:56] Shelley: Yeah. And I just find that, and this is another tip for our listeners is that when you find yourself in a bit of a reading funk, as I did over this last season, It's wonderful to reread a book because I guarantee you would not have taken in every insight and every lesson from that book on your first reading. But also new insights will stand out to you based on where you are in your life at that particular point. But also make sure it's a good one. Go and reread one that you've enjoyed. [00:21:28] Rowena: Don't read rubbish. Don't [00:21:29] Shelley: No ways, and certainly don't reread rubbish. So it gives you the certainty, I find, to go, I know this book is going to be good. And so if you're in a reading funk, that can give you that motivation to get back into your reading. And it's guaranteed to bring you joy. So why this is my favorite of the, of the lot. Um, I'm just going to quote from the blurb because I think that sums it up nicely. It's part memoir, part masterclass by one of the best selling authors of all time. This superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer's craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King's advice is grounded in the vivid memories from childhood, through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career, to his widely reported near fatal accident in 1999, and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. So yes, as you hear that date, 1999, it was published in the year 2000. So you can get ready for plenty of old tech alerts, like, uh, you know, mentioned of typewriters and the advent of the word processor, um, and things like not getting distracted by TV of like, well, if. Only that was our only distraction nowadays. But I love this reflection on the writing craft as a writer myself. And the way he just weaves in these stories, it just gripped and captivated me. But here's the thing, it's It's a book about writing for sure and the craft of writing, but it's not a how to book. And I would say that you could apply a lot of his general advice to anything you're doing. So you don't have to be a writer to enjoy this book, but I think anyone who's doing content writing or writing of any type would. But I really think you could extrapolate the lessons that he talks about in this book for starting a business or learning to play a musical instrument, whatever you're doing. And even if you have no ambitions of becoming a writer, but you consider yourself a reader, which I'm sure you do because you listened up to this point in this podcast. I really think you'll enjoy this book because it makes you so much more aware of the craft of writing and the thinking that goes into it. So then it makes reading so much more fun. [00:23:56] Rowena: Oh, yes, I completely agree with all of that. That once you know a little bit about the craft behind things, you appreciate it more. So even thinking about And I'm going to take it back to something that many of our readers do every day, which is like cooking. If you have to make a meal for your family, once you know what goes into a meal, you appreciate a meal that someone else has made for you even more because you know how much work went into it. And I think what I'm hearing you say, Shelley, is that by reading this fabulous book by Stephen King on writing, you then have a greater appreciation for the books that you are also reading. So it's kind of like the book that gives twice. [00:24:33] Shelley: Yes, absolutely. [00:24:34] Rowena: And so on that, that Stephen King book I'm writing is my next TBR read and fulfills both categories I have left, because Shelley recommended it to me. And now thanks to Shelley, I also have a copy. [00:24:49] Shelley: There we go. [00:24:50] Rowena: I, it's very, it's a very Shelley, very Shelley book. [00:24:54] Shelley: Yes, I feel like I've really built it up now. [00:24:57] Rowena: Yeah, yeah. And so we'll have to watch this space, [00:25:00] Shelley: Yes. [00:25:01] Rowena: listeners watch this space and we'll find out if we actually agree on this book or not. No, just kidding. I'm sure it would be great. Um, so now Stephen King is a, using that word that I used before is the best word to describe him. He is a prolific fiction writer, maybe not quite in the Danielle Steele category, but possibly. You know, up there. Um, so I think that's probably an excellent segue into highlighting a couple of our favorite fiction reads. So Shelley, if you're happy, I will go first. [00:25:30] Shelley: go for it. Tell us, tell us what's been inspiring you on the fiction side. [00:25:35] Rowena: All right. So the, my favorite, absolute favorite was The People on Platform 5 by Claire Pooley, which was only released this year. It's a 2023 release. It has an absolutely fabulous premise, she had this idea when she was catching the train one day, which was what happens if people got to know each other on the train. It's set in England and most people. do not talk to each other on the train in England. That's kind of a big no no. Um, so the characters all interact over a period of weeks and then months on a London bound suburban train. Um, so it's a really good setup for a story. I think it's, it's novel, it's interesting, but it's also great storytelling. Claire Pooley has a gift for kind of genuine, really Deep characters that are warm and kind and have got, different facets that you can kind of connect with. So I read her first book, The Authenticity Project, last year. It was actually recommended to me by a friend, um, and I absolutely loved it. So I was excited to read this one and it did not disappoint. So just like that other book, this has, this book, The People on Platform 5, has great diverse characters covering different ages, different ethnicities, different backgrounds and Shelley, you and I have talked about this separately, maybe not on the podcast before, but she has written this in an alternating point of view. So each of the five or six characters get a chapter every now and then. So you have different chapters where you can see And the character's perspectives which helps give depth and it helps provide a broader, a broader image of what's going on. It's also wholesome. There are no sex scenes. There's barely any kissing, but it's exciting and it's got a feel good element too, so that was my absolute favorite. And the second. It's really, it's a really nice book. Um, it's really, really enjoyable. And there's lots of lessons in there that you can kind of take and imply in your life too, I think, which is quite nice. My second favorite book is called The Road Trip by Beth O'Leary. It was published in 2021. The title, Road Trip, is the book's premise. What happens when two exes Plus their sister and a best friend and a random stranger end up sharing a mini, that's one of those timed little cars, from southern UK all the way up to Scotland. So it is the classic setup for a romance, exploiting two key tropes, which is what they use in romance language around like the key things that people look for. One of which is people being shoved into close proximity. So what happens when you put people in close proximity, which a tiny mini that does that. And then they've got the exes as well. So like it's these two people who have. broken up and they don't like each other anymore. What happens when you stick them in close? Then it's also got a cast of great characters, not just those in the car. So there's some extra characters that come in through flashbacks and memories and other things. So it's, very entertaining. Now it is a classic rom com structure. So it is very, it's got the alternating point of view. So it basically only gives you the perspectives of the male protagonist and the female protagonist, and they do alternate, which I actually really enjoy. Like, it's very fun. Um, it's escapism. It's entertaining. And this book has got some hilarious moments of awkwardness where, as a reader, I actually listened to this one. I was cringing. I was feeling my cheeks go hot. I was feeling embarrassed for them. You know, so where you can feel the emotional response for, on behalf of the characters. [00:28:55] Shelley: It's good writing. [00:28:57] Rowena: It was really good writing. Um, and so like the people on platform five, this was the second book I'd read by Beth O'Leary. And again, I wasn't disappointed. I wanted a bit of escapist fun and I got it. A quick little side note. I have read quite a few romance and rom com books recently because I've been realizing that if I want to write in that space, which is the genre my first novel is going to be in, I've been kind of doing some research, but I am surprised that how many have a single point of view and are written in the first person. So they often just come from one, one character, and it's written as an "I" um, which my editor told me the editors think of as the lazy way. [00:29:34] Shelley: Oh, [00:29:35] Rowena: I've been fascinated to hear and listen and read how many have been written in that style just a by-the-by. So if you listeners, if you do, read the Occasional Romance Book, or Chick Lit, or any of those other rom com ones. Maybe have a little lookout for that too, because I've started to notice, where it differs and it's quite interesting. [00:29:53] Shelley: Super interesting. And that's something you're going to read in On Writing. Um, he says great writers are prolific readers um, that you, if you want to be a good writer, you need to read extensively and you will pick up these kinds of themes. As you say, like, you know, sometimes there is time for, blocking out the other voices and just letting your story, um, come through. But, I think it is important to study the craft with both enjoyment factor and this like, oh, let me take notice of these patterns. So that's, that's really exciting that you've discovered that. [00:30:27] Rowena: I think, I think it's the word that you and I have used before, Shelley, which is curiosity. [00:30:32] Shelley: Yes. [00:30:32] Rowena: so enjoy, enjoy it for the sheer entertainment, but also have that curiosity mindset about, Oh, what am I learning from this? What am I noticing about this? [00:30:41] Shelley: Yeah, absolutely. [00:30:43] Rowena: speaking of which, what have you chosen for your favorite fictions? What are you curious about and that you've enjoyed and loved? [00:30:51] Shelley: First one is a reread, The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles. This author, I have discovered well, the first book that I discovered was A Gentleman in Moscow. And, Really, he is such a good storyteller. I think the Lincoln Highway is my favourite of those two. His characterisation is excellent. He talks about, like, picking up these ideas in fiction. And what I realise, he also does these different points of view. I think each chapter is told from the point of view of one of about seven different characters, and then what I noticed on the reread only is that two of those are told in the first person, Two of the characters tell the story as they're seeing it, and then the others are told through a third person narrator. But they're told from that person's of view. So fascinating structuring and writing craft, but Just, like, off the charts amazing storytelling, so I'd really recommend that to people, and it's just been such a wonderful reread. Again, I know it's going to be good. It was a very suspenseful plot, so it's actually really nice reading it the second time, going, Okay, I kind of know what's going to happen, now I can actually enjoy the storytelling elements, because I know what's going to happen in the plot. And then the other fiction book that I've been tucking into over the last month or so is called Avoiding the Friend Zone by Rowena Mabbott. Now of course that's you and I am just, I'm so proud of, of you Ro for, for publishing this book. Okay, I suppose it hasn't officially been published, but you've put it into a Kindle. Ebook format, I could open it on my Kindle and it had your name and the title on the cover. So to me, that's published since it's . Uh, and it, I just loved it so much because I was reading my friend's book and it, I love, I love the genre of, of a romance novel. It's a genre that I enjoy as like, go to genre when I want a bit of escapism. And Ro, I've really enjoyed the story that you've spun in Avoiding the Friend Zone. And I know you're now in the editing phases, and we've had a chat about the book. It was so fun. We had like a bit of a book club discussion. We probably should have recorded that. But no, no. You know what I also just want to share with our listeners? I've shared it with you because, um, we've talked about before the power of fiction to help us In our lives, possibly more than like a self help book or another kind of non fiction book would. And Avoid in the Friend Zone did the same thing for me. I'm not going to spoil the book for the listeners, but there's a part where the main character, Kate, needs to make a very difficult but brave decision. And my situation was completely different, but I also had to make a very difficult, really heartbreaking decision. And reading Rowena's book at that time really helped me through my own decision. It's, reading about Kate and the way she made the decision, it kind of gave me vocabulary and words. It was like a simile to go, okay, you know, she had to make the decision. She was brave. Um, and this fictional character. Seeing that fictional character make that brave decision and that hard decision, it was really supportive to me, it emboldened me, and it was really supportive to me in my life, so just a shout out to the power of fiction to do that, and a major shout out to this amazing author, Rowena Mabbott, for crafting that story that actually helped in a, in a real life situation. So just bravo, Rowena. I'm so excited for you to, to launch this book to the general public. And I'm also just going to encourage everyone to sign up for Rowena's author mailing list if you want to be like maybe next round of beta readers. I don't know what you've got up your sleeve, Rowena. Um, but listeners, if you want more. For more insights and news about Rowena's book, go to rowenamabbott. com slash opt hyphen in, and you can get all of that information there. [00:35:20] Rowena: Thank you, Shelley. Thank you so much for including my book in your favourites. If listeners could see me, which luckily they can't, because they would see I'm both beaming from ear to ear and wiping the tears from my eyes, because that was so lovely. I mean, it's, you're right. It's not published yet, but I also, I feel very honored that you find that there was a fictional character that I wrote that helped you. And we have talked about that before, um, in many episodes where we can, we all learn things from the fiction books we read, which is why we love our fiction books as much as. You know, as much as we'd love our non fiction books too. But I also think this is just for a complete change of tone I think it's very funny that we each have got a book with road or highway in the title and we each have a romance, we each have a romance type of book and the one that's character driven. [00:36:09] Shelley: yes. [00:36:10] Rowena: I think we have very, I loved our unplanned synchronicities. Ah, [00:36:14] Shelley: unplanned. [00:36:15] Rowena: and thank you for your kind words. [00:36:18] Shelley: Oh, it was such a lovely read, Ro. We are wrapping things up for today, but we really hope that you've enjoyed this bonus episode and have added, I'm sure you have added a lot of books to your TBR list. Um, as I mentioned, we're taking a little bit of a break before we start our next season. So really the best thing to do is to subscribe or follow Two Booked Up in your podcast player. Then, As soon as we're ready with our next season and we publish another episode, it will download into your podcast player. [00:36:50] Rowena: Yes. So subscribing means you'll never miss an episode, which is the main benefit. And whilst you're there, please leave us a positive review. We love positive reviews. They are our love language. So, in the meantime, remember to play along with our 23 for 2023 reading challenge. There are a few months left in the year and you can definitely still join in. You can download your free copy of the reading challenge checklist at twobookedup. com, where you can also find the show notes and a transcript of this episode. And, where can listeners find you, Shelley? [00:37:22] Shelley: You can connect with me on LinkedIn. I'm Shelley Tonkin Smith on LinkedIn. You'll find me if you search that and just tell me you're a Two Booked Up listener when you connect, and you can also sign up for my newsletter at shelleytonkinsmith.Com. If you'd like to learn more about my copywriting services, then head on over to ShelleySmithCreative.com. And Ro where can listeners find you? [00:37:45] Rowena: You can find me at Rowena Mabbott on Instagram. Or if you'd like to learn more about coaching with me, my new novel, Avoiding the Friend Zone, which will be coming soon, or download a free copy of my book, The A to Z of Career and Life Confidence. You can do all of that at RowenaMabbott. Com. [00:38:02] Shelley: Well, thanks for listening to Two Booked Up today. It's been so much fun. Keep reading or rereading. [00:38:09] Rowena: You've been listening to two. Booked Up with me, Rowena Mabbott. [00:38:19] Shelley: And me, Shelley Tonkin Smith. Please subscribe or follow Two Booked Up in your podcast player, and if you've enjoyed this episode, we'd love it if you'd leave a positive review.

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