Books Magazine

Back on the Sofa

By Isabel Costello @isabelcostello

Back on the SofaThis is just a quick hello and update as you haven’t heard from me in a while and it’s lovely that the blog is still getting readers and new followers despite my absence.  I hope you are coping OK in these times of fear, frustration and rage, and for many, terrible hardship and sadness.  It’s not easy, is it?  As I said at the beginning of the lockdown, I’m not going to dwell on the subject here (there is a LOT I could say but I take it you’re getting your fill elsewhere.)

It’s taken 4 weeks, but I have now fully recovered from what I and several doctors (my husband and friends – I didn’t need medical treatment) thought was highly likely to be Covid 19.  Thank you to everyone who sent me messages, checked up on me and especially the wonderful guest author who sent me these beautiful flowers. (I had symptoms affecting my vision but fortunately not my super-sharp sense of smell.) I spent one week flat out in bed, and one on the (actual) sofa feeling like I’d been mentally drugged and weighed down with lead.  Since then my energy levels have slowly returned to normal.  You can imagine how shocked I was to test negative for CV19 antibodies after all that.

Mini book/culture update: Like many others, I found it hard to read when the pandemic kicked off, which has never happened to me before.  To my relief it didn’t last, and I have really enjoyed the entire Patrick Melrose series by Edward St Aubyn; Calypso, my first but definitely not last David Sedaris, and The Light Years, first volume of Elizabeth Jane Howard’s Cazalet Chronicle. All of these were highly recommended and for good reason.  I thought the BBC adaptation of Normal People by Sally Rooney was outstanding, with moving performances that uncovered more emotional depth than I personally found in the words on the page. There are characters the same age (20) in my next book.

Speaking of which, I’m now hard at work on the edits for Scent which is out next April with Muswell Press.  It’s a real joy and privilege to work with a publisher who gets my novel and give me expert guidance to strengthen it – the role of editors who really engage in the manuscript is undervalued in the book world.  I’m really missing the French side of my life and the people in it, so it’s been great to lose myself in the Paris and Provence settings of the book and I hope it will have the same effect on readers.

Clearly my usual blog schedule has gone out the window as I normally post my Summer Reads selection, the biggest of the year, the week before half term (i.e. last week).  Rest assured that I will be doing it, and will be on the case as soon as my work commitments allow – probably mid June at this rate.  It’s going to be a strange summer for most of us but as always I’ll be featuring several titles that take you to another place. Until then, the titles on my Spring Spotlight are excellent choices to be going on with and there are some fabulous guest contributions from the authors too.

See you soon!

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