Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Seven truths about reading

I've been dwelling on what I know to be "truths" about reading for a while - mainly when I can't sleep and am trying to think of something a tad more positive than "Oh my gawd. I am 36 and single! I am going to die and no one will discover my body for the next three years" (have flatmates so one hopes the smell at least would be prompt my discovery before three years). Moving on, this is what I've realised.

1.There will be occasions when you read, or attempt to read, a much lauded book and you will not have the foggiest why so many people like the thing. In fact - possibly because you have crippling low self-esteem and, thus, have a desperate need to justify your opinions - you spend a fair amount of time Googling said book to find the one crap review that agrees with you. Thank goodness for Goodreads - you can always rely on that site to find a bad review; undoubtedly, there's a Goodreads review somewhere saying "that Shakespeare bloke has a cloth ear for dialogue".

2. On a similar note, you will read a book that you absolutely love and you will be amazed to find no one else has heard of it, let alone wants to wax lyrical about it. Kirsty Logan's Gracekeepers and Lauren Owen's The Quick are two recent examples of books I've thought were wonderful but haven't seem to got that much attention (maybe I am just looking in the wrong places).

3. You will "discover" an author you think is fantastic and you want tell everyone - friends, family, your Twitter followers  (all, er, 300 of them) - to stop what they are doing and read the collected works of the author immediately. Then you realise as the author in question is Charles Dickens, people probably already have an inkling that he's not bad at storytelling.

4. You can judge a book by its cover - a whimsical picture of a woman,wearing a 40s dress with a headscarf, looking to the distance (for her long-lost love), is blatantly family saga type fair.

5, You will be plagued by a constant sense of guilt because of all the books you've bought and failed to read. This guilt is made worse when you have a Kindle. Despite "removing from device", the books stay in your "cloud" - so you are forever reminded that you genuinely thought a book about the history of the WI would be interesting despite the fact you, or no one you know, have never had anything to do with the WI. At least with "proper" books, you can give the damn things away to a charity shop and no longer have to see what you've failed to read.

6. You will never, however many times you try, get the hang of Russian literature - specifically, that each character has several names that are used interchangeably.

7. Inevitably, you will forget point six, and attempt to read Master and Margarita. Again. And Give Up At The Same Point That You Did Last Time. Note that this also true for Catch 22 (yes, I know it's not a Russian novel).

This was supposed to be 10 things but I ran out of stream and, frankly, want to watch another episode of iZombie before bed.

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