Categories
Books Reviews Social anxiety

Cultivating a Fuji: Reviews 1

Cultivating a Fuji in the world: Reviews 1

Now that Cultivating a Fuji (new edition with Ocelot Press) is well and truly out in the world and I have time to breathe, I’m posting the review excerpts from my last post in a better way, so that they can be seen on any device.

There are other reviews, which I will post soon. I’m so proud of the reactions to Cultivating a Fuji so far, and hope the novel will be read by many more readers.

You can find Cultivating a Fuji here.
The paperback is on its way.

Splashes Into Books

This is a very moving story.   There are many other characters and the author does an amazing job of developing them all. It is an intriguing and thought-provoking story, a very different read with a dramatic twist at the end that had me rethinking assumptions I’d made when reading the earlier part of the book.

The Bookwormery

[I] found it to be a moving description of social anxiety and just how traumatic a simple meeting can be for sufferers….yes there’s humour, but I found this to be a sad, poignant and thought provoking tale.

FNM

This is a book that is guaranteed to stay with you long after you read it, it is a book that really makes you think with a few surprises along the way.

Jan’s Book Buzz

Drori tells a story that can only come from a place of empathy and recognition. It says: “I know you. I see you. I hear you. I understand you.”

Cheryl M-M’s Book Blog and here

I think the way Drori went about this was thought provoking. It’s a stage with Martin smack bang in the middle with a spotlight on him.

In de Boekenkast

Cultivating a Fuji is a very touching story about how hard it can be to fit in the crowd. Martin’s character is well-developed and even the minor personalities have their own past and problems in this wonderful story.

Grace J Reviewerlady

What a beautiful book! This is a novel I will reflect on time and time again.  This isn’t a ‘preachy’ read; rather it is one of understanding and compassion, and it has brought another excellent author into my world. Extremely enjoyable, providing much food for thought and, in my humble opinion, no less than five stars will do it justice!

Radzy Writes

These scenes were deeply uncomfortable for me, as someone who experienced bullying, so I’d be mindful of how you feel, but it’s written sensitively and in a beautifully validating way.   The thing I appreciated most about this novel was the way the author constructed a novel elevating social anxiety as a real, difficult thing. She either experiences the illness herself or has done her work. Where the Curious Incident with The Dog in the Night-time is a beautiful novel explaining autism, this, for me, is the work to explain social anxiety.

Mai’s Musings

Even when I wasn’t reading the book I found I was thinking about it and counting down to when I could pick it up again.   This is an extremely important book for helping people gain an understanding of social anxiety, and just how deeply it can affect the entire lives of sufferers.

Book Lovers’ Booklist

Author Miriam Drori has written a compelling, heart-warming and thought-provoking UpLit exploration of loneliness and social anxiety.   It was impossible not to be gripped by Martin’s journey, which begins with a business trip to Japan. And, then there’s a whammy of an ending that’ll leave you gasping…

Nesie’s Place

This is Martin’s story but there are multiple POVs to show not everyone thinks badly or only want to ridicule him. People want to help… they just don’t know how.   Cultivating a Fuji is a good read lovers of contemporary and literary fiction will enjoy, and the twisty conclusion will linger long after the story’s end.

What Cathy Read Next

Not everyone is without sympathy for Martin either but sometimes, as the book shows, people willing to help him (such as his boss, John) don’t know the best way to go about it or may inadvertently choose the wrong way.   There were some great scenes full of humour… I really enjoyed the second part of the book in which we learn of Martin’s life following his return from Japan. Cultivating a Fuji does a great job of highlighting the experiences of those with social anxiety disorder and the challenges they face using the medium of fiction.

Doublestackedshelves

I think the resilience Martin inadvertently learned from his school years, sets him on the path he takes, and propels the story forward into a new chapter in his life.   There are plenty of moments of contrition in this book, and the feel is generally cathartic. I did find certain aspects troubling, as I think we are meant to.

From Under the Duvet

Miriam Drori has sensitively exposed the reality of living with social anxiety and the impact it has on all involved while creating a character I love in an uplifting, memorable novel.

JenaBooks

Miriam Drori, the author, is a marvellous storyteller, especially in her ability to create real and relatable characters. You will be charmed by the story of Martin and all the people he meets. In this book, even the minor walk-on characters are fully developed with fascinating back stories.

Herding Cats

It’s such a beautiful and thought provoking story.   The first half of this book completely and utterly broke my heart then tenderly pieced it back together, filling it with so much joy.  This is really an uplifting novel.

Becca’s Books

I thought the choice to tell the story from both Martin’s perspective and the perspective of those around him added depth to the emotional landscape. The author seems to understand the challenges faced by those of us with social anxiety as well as the troubles that exist for others who try to interact with us.

Books Are Cool

This is a very cleverly constructed novel and beautifully written. There’s no preaching or wallowing. The author presents the issue of social anxiety and gives us a view from both sides: from those who experience it and those who feel that it’s OK to put others down and induce such misery. There’s hope and despair, love and disappointment, achievement and failure, happiness and missed opportunities in this richly textured book that’s rewarding and poignantly enjoyable to read.

Categories
Books

Publication Day for Fuji

World image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

Cultivating a Fuji is out in the world!

In June 2019, I posted excerpts from some of the reviews for the first edition of Cultivating a Fuji. They are copied below. If you haven’t read the novel yet, I hope you enjoy the experience as much as these reviewers did. (Apologies, the table doesn’t work well on a mobile phone.)

The new edition is out today with Ocelot Press.
You can find it here.
The paperback is on its way.

WebsiteDateQuotes
Splashes Into Books13th MayThis is a very moving story.   There are many other characters and the author does an amazing job of developing them all. It is an intriguing and thought-provoking story, a very different read with a dramatic twist at the end that had me rethinking assumptions I’d made when reading the earlier part of the book.
The Bookwormery15th May————————–
[I] found it to be a moving description of social anxiety and just how traumatic a simple meeting can be for sufferers….yes there’s humour, but I found this to be a sad, poignant and thought provoking tale.
FNM15th May————————–
This is a book that is guaranteed to stay with you long after you read it, it is a book that really makes you think with a few surprises along the way.
Jan’s Book Buzz15th May————————–
Drori tells a story that can only come from a place of empathy and recognition. It says: “I know you. I see you. I hear you. I understand you.”
Cheryl M-M’s Book Blog and here15th May————————–
I think the way Drori went about this was thought provoking. It’s a stage with Martin smack bang in the middle with a spotlight on him.
In de Boekenkast16th May————————–
Cultivating a Fuji is a very touching story about how hard it can be to fit in the crowd. Martin’s character is well-developed and even the minor personalities have their own past and problems in this wonderful story.
Grace J Reviewerlady17th May————————–
What a beautiful book! This is a novel I will reflect on time and time again.   This isn’t a ‘preachy’ read; rather it is one of understanding and compassion, and it has brought another excellent author into my world. Extremely enjoyable, providing much food for thought and, in my humble opinion, no less than five stars will do it justice!
Radzy Writes17th May————————–
These scenes were deeply uncomfortable for me, as someone who experienced bullying, so I’d be mindful of how you feel, but it’s written sensitively and in a beautifully validating way.   The thing I appreciated most about this novel was the way the author constructed a novel elevating social anxiety as a real, difficult thing. She either experiences the illness herself or has done her work. Where the Curious Incident with The Dog in the Night-time is a beautiful novel explaining autism, this, for me, is the work to explain social anxiety.
Mai’s Musings18th May————————–
Even when I wasn’t reading the book I found I was thinking about it and counting down to when I could pick it up again.   This is an extremely important book for helping people gain an understanding of social anxiety, and just how deeply it can affect the entire lives of sufferers.
Book Lovers’ Booklist19th May————————–
Author Miriam Drori has written a compelling, heart-warming and thought-provoking UpLit exploration of loneliness and social anxiety.   It was impossible not to be gripped by Martin’s journey, which begins with a business trip to Japan. And, then there’s a whammy of an ending that’ll leave you gasping…
Nesie’s Place19th May————————–
This is Martin’s story but there are multiple POVs to show not everyone thinks badly or only want to ridicule him. People want to help… they just don’t know how.   Cultivating a Fuji is a good read lovers of contemporary and literary fiction will enjoy, and the twisty conclusion will linger long after the story’s end.
What Cathy Read Next19th May————————–
Not everyone is without sympathy for Martin either but sometimes, as the book shows, people willing to help him (such as his boss, John) don’t know the best way to go about it or may inadvertently choose the wrong way.   There were some great scenes full of humour… I really enjoyed the second part of the book in which we learn of Martin’s life following his return from Japan. Cultivating a Fuji does a great job of highlighting the experiences of those with social anxiety disorder and the challenges they face using the medium of fiction.
Doublestackedshelves20th May————————–
I think the resilience Martin inadvertently learned from his school years, sets him on the path he takes, and propels the story forward into a new chapter in his life.   There are plenty of moments of contrition in this book, and the feel is generally cathartic. I did find certain aspects troubling, as I think we are meant to.
From Under the Duvet20th May————————–
Miriam Drori has sensitively exposed the reality of living with social anxiety and the impact it has on all involved while creating a character I love in an uplifting, memorable novel.
JenaBooks21st May————————–
Miriam Drori, the author, is a marvellous storyteller, especially in her ability to create real and relatable characters. You will be charmed by the story of Martin and all the people he meets. In this book, even the minor walk-on characters are fully developed with fascinating back stories.
Herding Cats21st May————————–
It’s such a beautiful and thought provoking story.   The first half of this book completely and utterly broke my heart then tenderly pieced it back together, filling it with so much joy.  This is really an uplifting novel.
Becca’s Books22nd May————————–
I thought the choice to tell the story from both Martin’s perspective and the perspective of those around him added depth to the emotional landscape. The author seems to understand the challenges faced by those of us with social anxiety as well as the troubles that exist for others who try to interact with us.
Books Are Cool22nd May————————–
This is a very cleverly constructed novel and beautifully written. There’s no preaching or wallowing. The author presents the issue of social anxiety and gives us a view from both sides: from those who experience it and those who feel that it’s OK to put others down and induce such misery. There’s hope and despair, love and disappointment, achievement and failure, happiness and missed opportunities in this richly textured book that’s rewarding and poignantly enjoyable to read.
Excerpts from reviews of Cultivating a Fuji by Miriam Drori.
Categories
Books

What on Earth is UPLIT?

With the republication of my uplit novel, I’m posting an updated version of this post from 2019.

The marriage of uplit and Cultivating a Fuji.

What is UPLIT and why might it interest me?

If you look up uplit in a dictionary, you’re likely to find that either it doesn’t exist or it’s the past of the verb uplight: to illuminate from below. But google it and you’ll find uplit or up lit is a genre people are starting to talk about. And to read.

Possibly, there is a connection between those two meanings of uplit. It’s about lighting the world from below, from the ordinary people, rather than having to endure spotlights from above.

An uplit novel is one of kindness, compassion and empathy. But it doesn’t sugar-coat the world; it’s “about facing devastation, cruelty, hardship and loneliness and then saying: ‘But there is still this,’” says author Rachel Joyce. Uplit novels are books that embrace difference, idiosyncrasy and those who are either marginalised or overlooked by society.

Uplit is about broken people who become fixed. Three examples are:

  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
  • Three Things about Elsie by Joanna Cannon
  • A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Uplit gives us readers control. It makes us realise that we can change the world – not the politicians, the dictators or the superstars, but people like you and me. We can make the world a better place, each in our own small way, and the more of us who do it, the greater effect it will have.

Uplit helps us to develop empathy for marginalised groups: immigrants, LGBTQ people, people with disabilities or mental health problems. Sadly and weirdly, another group often labelled as marginalised is women. How can a group that consists of slightly more than half the population be marginalised? Yet, it is.

My novel, Cultivating a Fuji, to be republished through Ocelot Press on 19th January, focuses on a marginalised character who doesn’t have a voice, at least not a spoken one. He is not able to explain how or why or who he is. And most people naturally fail to understand and simply label him as weird. Fortunately, a few of those he meets attempt to delve deeper, to reach inside his fortified exterior, and they are the characters who give the novel its uplit flavour. He is the only person who can turn his life around, but he needs those kind, understanding characters.

An island in Switzerland.

“No man is an island entire of itself.” ~John Donne

If the novel helps to create more empathy in our fragmented world, I will be delighted. But most of all, Cultivating a Fuji is a good story. When I first wrote this post, I had to say that myself. Now I can quote from the reviews. Here are a few:

Categories
Holidays

Chanukah, Day 8

To make up for my recent lack of attention to this blog, I’m posting thoughts about Chanukah for each day of the eight-day festival. Today, I’m talking about:

WOMEN

There are women associated with Chanukah. Their names are Hannah and Judith (Yehudit). That’s two women. Or maybe three. Or only one. I’ll explain.

Here’s a story about Hannah. It’s a story of sexual violation and hardly surprising, it seems to me, that it’s not told in kindergartens. But there is another story that’s told about Hannah.

Hannah witnessed all seven of her sons being tortured, one by one, and killed for refusing to bow down to an idol, or for refusing to eat pork – the story varies. Never did she beg any of them to comply with the commands in order to stay alive.

Is that the same Hannah or a different one? Then there’s Judith (Yehudit), who might also have been Hannah. She beheaded the Assyrian general, Holofernes.

Reading these stories makes me regard those ancient times as violent and dangerous. But are human beings really any better now?

We will continue to light candles and hope to bring light to a dark world.

Thank you for reading this series of posts. I wish you all a happy and healthy 2023. My plans for 2023 begin with republishing my uplit book, Cultivating a Fuji, through Ocelot Press. More about that soon.

Categories
Books Bullying

From Distort to Despair

Sometimes, there’s just too much technology to learn when all I really want to do is to write and edit.

This month, I’ve been taking part in one of those Instagram challenges. Here it is:

Today’s word (yesterday’s actually), DISTORT, led me to insert an extract from my book, Cultivating a Fuji, or at least to try. I struggled to insert the extract in a post, so I decided to put the extract in a comment, but that didn’t work either.

I think it’s an important extract that shows a lot about people and life. So I’m putting it here instead. What does it make you think of? Does it remind you of any episodes in your past?

July 1968

Trevor’s dad looked up from reading Trevor’s end-of-fourth form report, a sour grimace distorting his countenance. He particularly disliked the comment from the maths teacher: “What has Trevor been doing for the last four years? Certainly not studying maths. His mark in the last exam is atrocious.”

“A son of mine should be able to do better than that,” Dad told Trevor.

By this time, Trevor had picked up a thing or two from all those around him. He might not have bothered with studying, but he’d filled his brain with tips for navigating his way through life. Searching for one that would help him now, he soon came across it. Point the finger back at them. Yes, that would work. “Were you good at maths, then?” he asked.

“No, but I knew how to just squeeze past the red line by the skin of my teeth.”

Hmm. Next tip. Get sympathy. “But I don’t understand half the stuff we’re learning. I need help. Can’t you get me a private teacher?”

“Private teachers cost a lot of money, son. Look, this is what you need to do. Find some kid who’s good at maths and offer him something he needs in return for helping you.”

“What if I don’t have what he needs, or I don’t want to give it to him?”

“I didn’t say you have to give it to him. Listen to me. I said offer it. When you don’t need him any more, you find a way of getting out of your part of the bargain.”

Seven-year-old Trevor would have found it hard to accept such advice, but at fifteen he had a completely different sense of fairness. The new sense told him it was fair to look after number one first. In fact, he generally took it even further and looked after number one exclusively.

Trevor soon had a victim in mind, one who fitted the bill perfectly. He was good at maths; he needed something; Trevor could promise it; Trevor could easily renege on his promise. As soon as the new term started, Trevor went in search of his prey.

As usual, he stood alone in a corner of the playground, feet together, back straight, and head down. As if he’d been given a punishment. In that position, it was easy to, well, corner him and announce a proposition. Trevor went over to him and laid a hand on his shoulder.

“Martin, I’ve been thinking. We could be friends. Would you like that?”

Martin blinked and nodded.

“You could come round to my place sometime, and I could go to yours.”

Martin’s eyes opened wider. His mouth, too.

Trevor could hardly believe how easy this was. “We’ll have to arrange it. In the meantime, I’m having a bit of trouble with differentiation. I missed some lessons, or I didn’t pay attention. You know what it’s like. Can you explain it to me?”

“Yes.”

Poor Martin. But also, poor Trevor. Because it takes many years for Trevor to realise that looking solely after number one isn’t a good policy for life.

Cultivating a Fuji is available from Amazon.

Categories
Books Social anxiety

Breaking Up

I’m taking a break, but Martin isn’t. You can still read about him in Cultivating a Fuji.

Just before I go, here’s the interesting result of the poll I’ve been running on Twitter this past week.

Poll Result

Look at that middle number: 0%.

In other words, of those who answered the poll, not one will have any difficulty imagining what he’s like. Either you’ll see yourself in him or he’ll remind you of someone you’ve met.

Think about it. If you’re one of the 18% and see yourself in Martin, you can compare your experience with his. If you’re one of the 82%, this is your chance to look inside his head and maybe gain an understanding of what’s behind the behaviour that you’ve witnessed.

Cultivating a Fuji - Front Cover

Have a great summer!

Categories
Books

Cover Reveal

 

Curtains

With everything that’s been going on… promoting the free day for Social Anxiety Revealed and lots more – bookwise and lifewise… I somehow omitted, on this blog, to announce the fabulous cover for my new novel, Cultivating a Fuji, to be released on 15th May.

Crooked Cat have created a masterpiece with this cover.

So, without further ado…

except for a crescendoing drum roll…

and a blast from the trumpet…

I present the amazing cover of Cultivating a Fuji.

Cultivating a Fuji - Front Cover

Categories
Books

What on Earth is UPLIT?

The Marriage of Uplit and Cultivating a Fuji
The Marriage of Uplit and Cultivating a Fuji

What is UPLIT and why might it interest me?

If you look up uplit in a dictionary, you’re likely to find that either it doesn’t exist or it’s the past of the verb uplight: to illuminate from below. But google it and you’ll find uplit or up lit is a genre people are starting to talk about. And to read.

Possibly, there is a connection between those two meanings of uplit. It’s about lighting the world from below, from the ordinary people, rather than having to endure spotlights from above.

An uplit novel is one of kindness, compassion and empathy. But it doesn’t sugar-coat the world; it’s “about facing devastation, cruelty, hardship and loneliness and then saying: ‘But there is still this,’” says author Rachel Joyce. Uplit novels are books that embrace difference, idiosyncrasy and those who are either marginalised or overlooked by society.

Uplit is about broken people who become fixed. Three examples are:

  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
  • Three Things about Elsie by Joanna Cannon
  • A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Uplit gives us readers control. It makes us realise that we can change the world – not the politicians, the dictators or the superstars, but people like you and me. We can make the world a better place, each in our own small way, and the more of us who do it, the greater effect it will have.

Uplit helps us to develop empathy for marginalised groups: immigrants, LGBTQ people, people with disabilities or mental health problems. Sadly and weirdly, another group often labelled as marginalised is women. How can a group that consists of slightly more than half the population be marginalised? Yet, it is.

My new novel, Cultivating a Fuji, to be published by Crooked Cat Books in May, focuses on a marginalised character who doesn’t have a voice, at least not a spoken one. He is not able to explain how or why or who he is. And most people naturally fail to understand and simply label him as weird. Fortunately, a few of those he meets attempt to delve deeper, to reach inside his fortified exterior, and they are the characters who give the novel its uplit flavour. He is the only person who can turn his life around, but he needs those kind, understanding characters.

An Island in Switzerland

“No man is an island entire of itself.” ~John Donne

If the novel helps to create more empathy in our fragmented world, I will be delighted. But most of all, Cultivating a Fuji is a good story, even though I have to say it myself, for now.