Island View: The joys of trying something new

Trying out a new genre of fiction can be a great way to step outside your comfort zone and find a new interest.
Trying out a new genre of fiction can be a great way to step outside your comfort zone and find a new interest.

Spending most of my time scribbling shorthand notes, drafting and redrafting emails, combing through press releases, transcribing and occasionally typing up a story or two has changed the way I read and write.

Whereas I was a keen reader before qualifying as a journalist, in my free time now I usually feel like getting as far away from the written word as possible.

And when I do manage to settle down for a book I tend to play it safe, re-reading something I know I will enjoy (Philip Pullman is one of my enduring favourites) and staying within my comfort zone.

Though I had dabbled with some Ian Rankin, I can safely say crime novels and thrillers were outside that comfort zone.

So when, soon after becoming a Buteman reporter, I attended a talk in April by crime writer Chris Brookmyre at Rothesay Library, I expected nothing more than a pleasant evening and a story for the following week’s paper.

When Chris read out an extract from his new book though, my interest was piqued. That book was Want You Gone, and on a whim (probably encouraged by the free wine) I bought a copy there and then.

The gamble was rewarded and I finished the book in a few days, before promptly heading to Print Point and hoovering up as much of the Brookmyre back catalogue as I could find.

It’s a shame Chris won’t be able to attend Bute Noir, the island’s crime writing festival, next weekend.

But because of his work I am now eagerly looking forward to hearing about – and reading – the work of his contemporaries.

Making myself try something new back in April has opened my eyes to something completely different, and given me a new favourite author.