I love reading most genres from sci-fi and fantasy to chick lit and non-fiction. However, there is one genre that I have to indulge in with caution. Reading horror, such as Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft always makes me a nervous wreck but I can’t resist the spine tingling books.
At the moment, I’m reading the Girl with all the Gifts. Even though I would describe this as being more of a love story than a horror story, it does have frighteningly fast running zombies in it, which fascinate and terrify me.
The plot itself has been a slow starter for me, building up a picture of the post-apocalyptic world, where I have been impatient to learn more about the why and how of the zombie outbreak. However, now that I’m half way through I have become absorbed into the little girls world and her struggle to control her zombie condition.
Unfortunately, as much as I’m enjoying the book, I have been having zombie related nightmares after reading several chapters before bed. So I have decided that this particular book will be a daytime read and I will keep the night time reading spot for something with fewer monsters.
I’m stuck in a book rut. I have been picking books up and putting them down for the past few weeks without becoming hooked. I don’t know whether I’m in a particularly indecisive mood or whether I just haven’t found the right book.
I can usually read most genres, but recently I have picked up a YA historical fiction, a fantasy book and an autobiography and I haven’t even managed to read half way through any of them. Irrationally, I’m worried I have lost my lust for books but I know it’s because I haven’t yet found The One.
I’m tired of reading half-heartedly and falling asleep after a few page turns. I want to find a book that keeps me up all night and that I can’t stop thinking about!
I think I need to go on a book hunt and actively seek out the page turner that will reignite my passion for reading.
I’m reading a book by Terri Cheney called ‘Manic’ about her experience with bipolar disorder. It is beautifully written and absorbing, by far the best autobiography I have read in a long time. Once I have finished it I hope to write a detailed review.
I do find that some autobiographies feel distant and weary of their own story, while sometimes I never really feel connected to the subject matter.
However, when the voice of the author really connects with you it’s as though you have met your soul mate. Someone who understands an aspect of your life, or someone who you can empathise with or who you are curious about.
The real stories that we have to tell can sometimes be far more exciting than any story thought up or imagined. I believe that everyone has a tale worth telling and there is always someone out there who is eager to read it.
I have recently started reading before bed, instead of watching TV or scrolling through the internet on my tablet.
I started the New Year with a string of disrupted night’s sleep with fleeting nightmares that woke me up every few hours. I knew that this was triggered by watching too many late night films and reading the news headlines before heading to bed. I decided to try and ‘switch off’ technology an hour or so before sleep and pick up a book instead.
The comfort of reading a paper copy that is bookmarked from the evening before instantly puts me at ease. I naturally slip into a meditative state and sleep comes easily after a while (depending on how exciting the book is at that point!)
It is difficult sometimes to stop yourself checking emails ‘one last time’ or scrolling through social media for the billionth time, but I feel happier and healthier after a good night’s sleep and all it takes is a few chapters of a book!
I only have one New Year’s resolution this year – to make sure I write and read every day. It doesn’t have to be much, just something. Even if it is just writing a sentence and reading a page!
After the time off over Christmas and New Year I feel rusty when it comes to writing and even reading.
I have spent the holidays being entertained by (and entertaining) friends and family. Pure escapism through watching films, going for walks and meals out has meant that I haven’t had a lot of time to myself. I have enjoyed the time off and the ability to put everything on hold for a while, but I have also felt a little guilty for neglecting my writing.
Now that the holidays are over, I need to get back into writing and catching up on the reading that I have collected over the past few weeks. I was given a few books as Christmas gifts and my boyfriend brought back a stack of Terry Pratchett books from his Christmas visit home that I’m looking forward to borrowing!
I find that after a break it does sometimes take a while to ‘re-train’ myself to write for any period of time. I can get easily distracted and fidgety. The thought of writing for long periods can be daunting after a few weeks off. I need to start slow and just write for ten minutes at a time, just to ease myself back into the writing process!
I sometimes feel like I have a secret identity. ‘The undercover writer’
During work hours I sit in the office and dutiful work for my paycheck.
But in the quiet moments, maybe during a rainy lunch break or while on an extended tea break, I write.
While I type, the grey walls disappear and the harsh florescent lighting fades and I can create my own world. Even if it is only for a few minutes.
In amongst my office paperwork, I keep notepads with scribbled stories and sticky notes of ideas.
Everyone should take the time out of each day to do something they enjoy, even if it isn’t particularly constructive. Five minutes reading my favourite book is better than five hours typing spreadsheets in my opinion.
Everyone should have another identity other than their job, even if it doesn’t pay the bills.
I never feel like I am wasting my time when I am reading.
I can sometimes feel like I am creating ‘dead time’ by browsing social media, internet window shopping and watching another boring program on TV, just because I have nothing better to do. But when I read, I feel like I am gaining something and creating my own world from the words on the page.
I interact with the story and try and second guess the outcome. I am involved with the characters and I care about their lives.
I think about the story after I have closed the covers and put it away for the night. I wonder about the twists and the clues that lead up to the grand finale. I feel like it is a personal journey that I am taking, where only I know about its secrets – you can sit and watch a film with someone but you only really ever read a book alone.
Plus, it always feels good when you have finished the book and you can tick it off your reading list.
“The Austen Project pairs six bestselling contemporary authors with Jane Austen’s six complete works: Sense & Sensibility, Northanger Abbey, Pride & Prejudice, Emma, Persuasion and Mansfield Park. Taking these well-loved stories as their base, each author will write their own unique take on Jane Austen’s novels.”
When I found out about the project I thought that it was a wonderful idea, to take a well loved classic and re-write the story from a different perspective. I think it will breathe new life into classic tales, that are at risk of becoming merely ‘ornamental’ features on the bookshelf . Personally, I’m guilty of collecting Jane Austen’s works and letting them gather dust, as I am often not in the mood for the Jane Eye after a long day at work.
The fact that other brilliant writers will take the time to lovingly craft another passage in each books story shows the lasting legacy of Jane Austen’s appeal. I believe it is a fitting tribute.
However, there are arguments for leaving a classic work alone and leaving the characters within a book unsullied by another authors touch. Some comments on the project suggest that it is ‘just an attempt to cash in Austen’s popularity rather than any serious literary venture.’ Or others suggest we are ‘dumbing down’ brilliant novels in an attempt to modernise the story. Or that it is merely laziness to take a story and wrap it up in different packaging.
But to this I quote another classic literary genius;
There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same old pieces of coloured glass that have been in use through all the ages.
– Mark Twain, a Biography