The British Museum

I don’t want to read

No clear idea why.

I feel as though I haven’t had the time when in actuality my bus rides, lunch times, occasional evenings, and weekend or two have remained free for it – I just don’t appear to be interested. (Not to mention the [potentially alarming] amount of Morse I’ve been watching.)

I want to read, but I can’t concentrate.

The Sellout (Beatty), Post Office (Bukowski) and A Dream of Ice (Anderson & Rovin) are just a few of the books I’ve tried to begin in the last month, none of them has got through to me. Normally I would adore them.

I’m having a conversation with myself, reading Alice and ‘please, I really don’t want to think right now Alice’, arguing about whether to read or not. No one needs two Alice’s in their head. No one.

The book-world in general has felt out of reach of late, as though I’m circling it in a daze. Thus, the blog has suffered this last year as well. I didn’t even know the new Ferrante was coming out until Saturday, what sort of way to live is that?

What do you do when you feel like this?

Rereading Parade’s End by Ford Madox Ford – The Beginning

Long time readers are probably aware that the Parade’s End tetralogy is my favourite book series, ever. I love it more than A Song of Ice and Fire (ASoIaF) by George R.R. Martin *le gasp*.

However, unlike ASoIaF, I’ve not reread it since devouring it in September 2013.

Now, when I read Parade’s End it was slightly problematic, as it gave me quite a lot of anxiety (I’m looking at you Sylvia Tietjens) nevertheless, I bloody loved the experience.

Sure, rereading could ruin my love but what is life if you don’t take a risk? You’re right, dull, so here we go. (Be prepared for gifs, I’ve decided to give them another go.)

The Beginning.

I forgot this is a postmodern novel, I’m not exactly sure where Christopher is/I am, I’m 90% sure it’s a train. Either way, Christopher Tietjens is lamenting that his wife wants to come back after running away with another man, because she is bored.

bored

He’s yet to meet Valentine Wannop, so thus far my anxiety is low. I don’t know why I love this man so much, he’s such a stick in the mud. His friend Macmaster is also a ladder climbing sponge, but I think Christopher knows and just puts up with it.

However, the best character in this novel is Sylvia Tietjens, who really is so wonderfully horrible. No wonder she is bored, what can she really do? She’s restricted to looking pretty and having babies.

She has a wonderful conversation with her mother in France, to where she ran with her boy toy, and her mother’s priest. The high point is where he threatens to throw holy water on her and watch her burn . It’s a wonderful set up for the best anti-hero you will ever meet.

holywater

Parade’s End definitely wasn’t intended to be feminist (that I know of) so I can only assume that Ford had some issues he’s wasn’t dealing with.

Back in England, Ford skips all over the place (which you’ll learn to love), Christopher is having to wait around for Sylvia’s response to his telegram. Giving Macmaster time to come in and recount the awful day he has had.

Which is where I need to stop, because next we’ll meet Valentine, and then Christopher will, and then I’ll have something extra to GIVE ME ALL THE FEELS.

Until next time.

Oxford

The Common Reader Effect

I turned 30 yesterday (sorry, I’m telling everyone) and it’s made me both slightly melancholic (I’m at my happiest while sad…) and introspective.

Which obviously meant I began to think about how my reading has changed over the years that I’ve consumed books almost obsessively.

Which lead me to The Common Reader Effect.

The Common Reader Effect (I’ve no idea if this exists already, I was too lazy to Google) is the effect of vast book consumption has on a person’s enjoyment of types of literature. It’s named after A Common Reader by Alan Bennett, which I’m assuming you’ve read and if not you should. It’s a short story about the Queen becoming a devoted reader and neglecting her duties. The more the Queen reads the more she is able to appreciate more ‘complicated’ works of fiction. Books she read at the beginning of her journey, that she struggled through, are now a whole new place of wondrous discovery.

Which is also what has happened to me, minus being a Queen (or am I?*). The more I’ve read over the last five or six years the more my reading tastes have changed.

Take Dracula by Bram Stoker. I began to read it for University during a course on Horror, but never finished it – which in hindsight was a stupid educational decision. In May I decided I had to try reading it again and I loved it. I understood what I hadn’t before, themes popped out, I became excited for the story to unfold where previously it all seemed a bit slow.

It’s made for glorious reading experiences, I get to experience quick emotional payoff with YA and general fiction, and get longer intellectual payoff from Literary Fiction and Classics. It’s great.

Has this happened to you?
How has your reading taste changed over your years of reading?

* I’m not.