Thursday, 29 September 2011

The dangers of excessive reading

It's somehow accepted that people are on their mobile phones every minute of the day. I barely even snigger now when I walk into a bar and see a table full of people out for a drink together, and every single one of them is engrossed in their smartphone. I always mocked people for it, called them anti-social, wondered why they aren't engaging with the fabulous real world around them rather than the virtual one on a miniature screen. But I've become one of those incredibly anti-social types since starting this challenge. And I think it's to a whole new level. At least when someone is texting, or checking emails, or Tweeting they tend to look up every now and again, say a few words, engage in a bit of conversation. But having my head in a book, especially books as good as the ones on this list means there's no drawing me out of there. I'm reading in every spare minute I get. I can squeeze a page in while in the supermarket queue. I'll get through a couple of chapters on my bus to work - and have on more than one occasion missed my stop when the plot reaches a gripping point just at the moment I ought to be ringing the bell. I've walked into numerous lamp-posts, tripped over a dog and, on one occasion, almost sat on someone's knee all because I'm trying to make every reading minute count. I'm a walking hazard. And now it's at the point where I'll be sat in the pub and while waiting for whoever I'm meeting have that fatal thought of 'I'll just read a few pages while I'm waiting'. And that's it. I'm back into the book and my poor friend will have got through most of their beer before I find a point I can bear to drag my eyes away from fiction and back to reality. So far everyone is being very understanding, but I'm guessing their tolerance has a limit.
I fear this is going to have a devastating effect on my ability to socialise. As I'm venturing into The Book Thief I think the 'can't put it down' syndrome is only going to get worse. So many people are telling me it's an incredible read. Perhaps I need to set some boundaries. Have reading slots planned into my day. But to be honest a little bit of me is tempted to just become a recluse for a while and fully indulge...

Friday, 23 September 2011

Priorities and panic

I promised that I'd post an updated list of which books I've already read to get my priorities in order, and as if by magic the lovely World Book Night people have popped the list into a handy Facebook app that allows you to tick them off as you go. Fabulous stuff. So, here's my 'done and to do' list as it stands.
I'm about a third of the way through Little Women, and it's not at all like I expected it to be! I feel like I'll be a far more moral person by the end of this. Or at the very least be aware of the virtues I ought to have...
Almost had heart failure today when I saw that WBN had tweeted the url to this little blog of mine. I'll do my best to keep it entertaining... and if anyone can offer any advice on how to finally make it through Catch 22 which I have attempted to read about 4 times in my life and never made it through I'd be very appreciative. Might just put that one off for a while. See if I can get my numbers up to boost my confidence before tackling it.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Mockingbird shooting draws a tear

Ok, so I said I love a weepy book and I'd forgotten just how heart-wrenching To Kill a Mockingbird is. Fabulous read. Thoroughly enjoyed every page. And I'm considering working 'nome' into my vocabulary, but I suspect it's less endearing when coming from a grown English woman rather than an American child with a lovely southern drawl. Ah well. I'm getting into the pace a bit more now and have jumped straight into Little Women. Shocked at myself for never having read it before, it has been sat on my shelf for about eight years I think.
I got far too excited yesterday when my Amazon package arrived containing the the next delights to add to the somewhat intimidating stack that is now growing in my living room. The Book Thief and Birdsong look intriguing. I'm a little concerned that since so many of the most-loved books in the world centre around hard-hitting, traumatic and emotional experiences I may come out of the other end of this feeling it's a tough old world and wondering where the joy is. Hopefully I'll come out with a new appreciation of my own circumstances and realising how lucky I am to not be any of the characters in these books!

Monday, 19 September 2011

One Day

I got really into David Nicholls' One Day. Really easy read and enjoyed the story. Brilliantly observational, with loads of quirky and amusing characteristics that were rather too easy to relate to at times (I won't specify which ones rang true for me!). The realism to the writing made the characters seem far less fantastical than a lot of fiction, and I thought the pace of the book reflected the lightening speed at which life really does seem to fly past. The trouble is (and I suppose this is part of the problem in reading a book that's had so much hype) I read so many reviews of this being an incredible, moving, heart-breaking book that I couldn't help feeling a little disappointed. I enjoyed it, but I wasn't blown away. My tissue box remains untouched, and I haven't spent any time sobbing into my pillow. And being a typical woman I definitely love a bit of drama in my life so any book that can draw the tears is a winner for me... Still, a good start to the reading challenge. On with To Kill a Mockingbird now. I have actually read this one before, but it seems like a good excuse to enjoy a few of the classics again. I'm going to have to try and pick up the pace a bit though. Fine line between getting through as many of these as possible and actually enjoying the books as I read them!

Thursday, 15 September 2011

The challenge...

It's a really bad idea to ever say the world 'challenge' to me. I can't help but bite. And so when I was browsing Twitter for the latest updates and saw that the World Book Night top 100 had been announced, closely followed by the setup of a #WBN100readingchallenge hashtag I was bound to get on board. So here it is, the start of a somewhat impossible task of reading all 100 of the shortlisted books. Have a look at the list
The idea is to get through them all before World Book Night, which occurs on the 23rd April 2012, but that would give me roughly two days per book(!) so while I'm willing to have a bash at reading them all, I'll be making a few allowances for having a full time job, writing this blog, having something of a life etc. and be aiming to read as many of the 100 as possible... Better to start with a bit of realism ;)
In light of the likely impossibility of getting through all of them, I'm going to start with making my way through all the ones I've never read before. That makes the list a little less daunting. I'll post the amended list to this soon, feel free to make recommendations of which ones I should go for first. I'm thinking alternate the easy reads with the heavy subjects and tough writing - all motivating comments will be really welcome!
And before we get into too much geek-bashing - yes I love books, yes I use Twitter, yes I live alone, no I do not have cats or smell of wee. Yet.
So, onwards with David Nicholls' One Day since it's in every bookshop window in sight at the moment...