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Hello and welcome to my blog.

If you’re looking at this page, you can probably tell I love books, as much as that seems an understatement to me. I love to read. I live to read. While I assure you I have a full and varied life aside from the bookshelves, I still spend an inordinate amount of time reading books, buying books, stroking books… Well, you get the idea.

The fact that I have absolutely no room to store all these books is completely besides the point.

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Ok, first up… I’m mostly a paperback girl. I struggle to get comfortable with a hardback – too cumbersome – and while I have a Kindle, I just don’t get the same feeling of satisfaction as I do with a paper copy.

Of course, reference books are a whole other thing. I couldn’t even begin to imagine the stunning Books That Changed History in a paperback format. I will gladly admit I very much judged this book by its cover, and knew I had to have it the moment I clapped eyes on it.

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What kind of books can you expect me to talk about? Short answer: all of them. I am a very eclectic reader, and like a little of everything. While my main preferences would lead me mostly towards historical, fantasy and science fiction (adult preferred over YA), I will literally read any genre (although some serious persuasion may be required for me to pick up a Mills & Boon), including the back of a cereal box! I am currently also working my way through the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list, so there will likely be a lot of classics mentioned too.

When I was younger, I was also a voracious writer. People had me pegged as a future novelist from the age of 5, and I was always scribbling one thing or another, from stories, poems and songs to full-blown novels (which were full of teenage hormones, angst and know-it-all, and a complete embarrassment to read as an adult!).

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My writing slowed and stopped around the time I met my husband, got married and had kids. Not so much because I no longer had the time – although that played a part – but because of the simple fact that my husband is a truly gifted writer. We met one day in a local pub, where he was sitting on the floor, surrounded by a manuscript. I offered to type it up for him, and the rest is history.

Why did this stop me from writing myself? Honestly, it was frustration at an inability to compete. I married a man whose first drafts were better written than most people’s finished work. His blooming shopping lists are better written than most people’s finished work! And ideas for him are 10 a minute. On a bad day. It was a purely self-conscious feeling of inadequacy on my part that stilled my pen, my husband never anything less than extremely supportive.

And now, almost twenty years later, I am slowly getting back into writing. Again, I guess it is frustration that drives me. Husband dear – who wrote a story one day and decided to send it to a magazine, only to have it immediately published and subsequently singled out and raved about by critics – has not written a single thing in all that time. This complete waste of incredible talent is, as far as I’m concerned, a terrible crime against the written word, and I live in hope that one day he will go back to writing.

In the meantime, I guess I don’t have to “compete”, and can safely put pen to paper once more myself. And to get me started, I picked up a copy of 642 Things to Write About, hoping the prompts will kick-start things. It’s gotta be like riding a bike, right?

Right!!?

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Have a great day book lovers!

Betty Bookworm

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Read, Reading, To Be Read…

When I say my reading habits are eclectic, I’m not just saying that…

Read:

I just recently finished One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kasey; a library copy that is older than  I am!

cuckoo  Published in 1962, most people know it better by its film starring Jack Nicholson, and I have to admit I had seen it many times myself before picking up the book.

Maybe that’s why I didn’t get on with it very well? I really wanted to love it, but I just couldn’t get into the writing. The story is told from the POV of Chief Bromden, who is in the asylum for a reason.  He obviously suffers from paranoid delusions, so a lot of the time you have to try and decipher what is really happening, and what is just in the Chief’s head. Trying to follow his thought patterns is unsettling, but not in itself enough to put me off.

Where Kasey lost me was with his frequent use of “could of”, “would of” and numerous similar grammatical faux pas. Now I’m not quite willing to condemn Kasey for making mistakes such as these throughout his book – instead I shall stick with the assumption that he did it on purpose, perhaps to show the Chief’s mental decline? – but that doesn’t make it set my teeth on edge any less. I will put my hand up and admit to secretly belonging to the grammar police, which is probably a bit hypocritical considering I’ve been known to make plenty of mistakes myself, but I try to keep it to myself rather than point it out to people. Still, I die a little inside every time someone uses an apostrophe to pluralise, or gets confused between “loose” and “lose”, or the dreaded “their, there, they’re”…

If you are made of stronger stuff than me, don’t let me put you off reading this classic, because it certainly isn’t without merit!

Reading:

Currently I am reading A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin.

It is meant for younger readers, which really shows in its lightning pace (whole years can pass in just a paragraph) and lack of any real description, resulting in a “telling”, rather than “showing” scenario.
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I’d have liked to see this fleshed out more for a slightly more mature audience, but as it stands, it’s not a terrible read. I usually find books for youngsters too patronising for my tastes (I have never been able to make it all the way through the first Harry Potter book, and I for ever ruined my happy memories of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” by reading it to my daughter when she was younger), but that isn’t the case here. Le Guin seems to understand that just because her audience is younger than her, she doesn’t have to talk down to them. Most refreshing!

To Be Read:

Next on my TBR list, is Haruki Murakami’s A Wild Sheep Chase.

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My brother got me Kafka on the Shore for Christmas, and I loved it. When he asked what I wanted for my birthday, another Murakami was definitely top of my list.

Really looking forward to this!

 

 

 

That’s my current reading status. I’d love to hear what you’ve all been reading.

Have a great day book lovers!

Betty Bookworm

Things to Write About – Prompt One

The first prompt in 642 Things to Write About (for now I am planning to do them in order, though I may change my mind about that!) reads: What can happen in a second? The answer of course is: Many things. My mind immediately went to a darker place, which should probably disturb me more than it does, and I scribbled some lines in the little box on the page. Once it was full, I brought it all here, and added a little more in the process. It’s still only a short snippet, but one has to start somewhere, no?

Prompt 1 – What can happen in a second?

In the blink of an eye, the world changed. One second people were going about their day; the next, a blinding flash of light, fire and death hot on its heels. There was no time for screams, no time for pain. Tens of thousands dead. People who only a second before had had loved ones and jobs, hopes and dreams. nuclear-explosion-356108_640

In but one second they were gone, leaving a hole in the future, with all their potential unfulfilled.

 

 

 

Well… Wasn’t that a cheery way to start! I’m hoping the prompts won’t all lead me to depressing tales of nuclear war, but I can’t promise anything…

Have a great day book lovers!

Betty Bookworm