Bleaker House by Nell Stevens

April 19, 2017 Memoirs 9

Greetings Bookworms!

When I’m confronted with a book that has a penguin on the cover, it’s almost a given that I will read it. Enter Bleaker House: Chasing My Novel to the End of the World by Nell Stevens. My friend and book-enabler Heather (aka Capricious Reader) sent me a link to this book and I wasted zero time in going to NetGalley to procure a copy. That’s right. *I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration. As always, my integrity is worth more than the price of a digital review copy, so you can trust me to be honest. You can start worrying when people start handing me fistfuls of cash along with my free books. Which will happen exactly never. So. There you go.*

In this book, the author runs away to Falklands (on a school supported fellowship) in order to deprive herself of distractions so she can write her novel. She ends up finding that you can’t force the writing of a novel, even in utter isolation. Also she was bad about packing her food which made me as a reader anxious and hungry. Because her calorie count. So bleak. That was the bleakest bit, really, the lack of food. I wish I could blame this on the fact that I read this while pregnant, but no. I don’t like being hungry under any circumstances. There was a lot of useful self discovery and a bit of indulgent navel gazing (but really, who wouldn’t do that when isolated in such a manner?) I just wish there hadn’t been a penguin on the cover. While the author did see penguins on her frequent walks, they didn’t play a particularly integral role in the story. I mean, the author couldn’t have anticipated the level of penguin enthusiast who would be attracted to her book, but I was a bit disappointed when the penguin related capers and friendships I imagined never materialized.

Bottom line? If you’re interested in one writer’s process, definitely check out Bleaker House: Chasing My Novel to the End of the World. If you are more interested in penguin capers, email me and I’ll supply you with a reading list to suit your fancy.

Bookworms, I must know. Have any of you been hoodwinked by the cover art on a book?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*


9 Responses to “Bleaker House by Nell Stevens”

  1. mwgerard

    I adore penguins and I keep thinking I want to read this only because of it (like Mr Popper’s Penguins). I assumed it was a novel but based on your review it sounds like it’s nonfiction…?

    • wordsfor

      It’s like memoir mixed with large sections of the fiction novel she was working on. I’d say mostly memoir/non fiction though.

  2. Megan M.

    She wrote a book about how she couldn’t manage to write a book?? Why didn’t *I* do that?

  3. Michelle

    I can’t blame you for thinking this would have been a much more penguin-filled book than it was based on that cover. Perhaps a strongly-worded letter to the publisher would help?

  4. DoingDewey

    Oh no! Misleading penguins are the worst, haha. I think I’d feel stressed about the main character;s lack of food too!

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