Monday, 23 January 2012

I'm being more adventurous!

There was a time, many years ago, when I would start a new book before I'd finished the one I was currently reading.  The current book would be left unfinished, and presently, so would the new book, in favour of a yet newer one.  A vicious cycle of never finished books.  I didn't keep that up for long, because it was just silly.  So for most of my reading life - with a big ten-year gap in the middle when I didn't read anything at all (and that includes my university days!) - I have stuck to reading one book at a time.  That meant that I got lots of books finished because I wanted to move on to the next one quickly.  I still think this is a good way of reading, and I'm kind of still sticking to it.

However, I'm also sort of not.  I am allowing myself to have more than one book on the go at once, but they have to be from different genres, and to be read at particular times of the day.  This allows me to read according to my mood, because I know what my mood is at different times of the day.  So now I have Mslexia magazines that I read during the day, and in breaks when I'm writing.  They spur me on to write more, and give me lots of ideas and motivation.  In the afternoons, when I'm not needed by my children, or when I'm waiting for the pasta to be ready, or whatever, I am reading science.  Popular science, I think it's called.  So I have just finished reading Richard Dawkins's new book, The Magic of Reality, which was wonderful.  I have now moved on to Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time, which is completely different, though it deals with many of the same questions.

In the evenings I'm reading whatever I like.  It just so happens that I fancied reading Lord of the Rings right now.  I'm reading it with a stack of sticky page markers next to me, as there are lots of snippets and passages and introductions to characters and journey descriptions and landscape paintings that are very useful.  I don't want to lose any of them, so I am planning to have a little bit of an analysis session once I've finished reading the book, and see what I can make use of in my own fantasy writing.

I'm also reading The Old Curiosity Shop, and am enjoying it hugely.  Although I don't like Dickens as much as I love Thackeray.  I prefer a bit of comedy, and Dickens is just so sad, so morose, so truthful in a brutal kind of way.  That's good to read from time to time, but sometimes I just want a bit of a laugh.  His characters are grotesque and at times they are funny, but you wouldn't call The Old Curiosity Shop a comedy.  Nothing that I am reading at present is humorous, and I might have to remedy that with a bit of Terry Pratchett once I've finished the Dickens.  (You see, I could start reading Pratchett right away, but I know that one of the other books I'm reading would sit on the desk getting dusty - the amount of books I'm reading right now is just exactly the right amount.)

This is my current reading pile - though the Dawkins is done with - and as well as my bestickied Lord of the Rings you'll notice another book I've not mentioned.  That's because I've not started it yet.  I keep putting The Man Who Cycled the World in my bag, and taking him into town with me on Starbucks mornings, intending to read him in between writing - but I haven't yet done enough writing to deserve that particular treat!

So, I'm reading.  I've started the Goodreads 2012 challenge - I've set myself a target of 50 books to read this year.  Next year I think I will be able to read more.  This year I think 50 will be a struggle, because I've got cycling to do as well.  But of course, it's not about the quantity, it's about the quality.  Or it is?  Nah, I think it's about the quantity.  Must read more, must read more ...