What I have remembered about reading…

Hmmm.

After my last blog post I seem to have gotten a bit self conscious about writing.

I was expecting, now that I’ve removed the barriers, to come out with something totally different – but it seems that I am still sitting, metaphorically, within the same pen.

I feel like I have promised to come back with a brand new hairstyle and, instead, I am returning with a barely noticeable trim.

Oh well.

I have been reassured by a few trusted sources that it takes time to find a voice so maybe this is part of the process. It has also been suggested that reading more is one of the things that can help this discovery and so today’s post might be a step along this path because ….

I am reading again.

It has only taken me six months and a small stack of must-read recommendations, but ‘One Day’ by David Nicholls has done the trick.

It feels necessary to write a blog post marking the occasion because I had forgotten how delicious it is to become completely absorbed in someone else’s plot. How there is a lag between putting a book down and picking your life back up when it still feels as if you are in another world. How you have to remind yourself that Emma and Dexter are fictional characters, Melissa, even though they feel life-like and well known.

This is the escapist element; the other thing I had forgotten is how reflective the whole process is. How reading is also about our relation to the subject and the characters; that the journey is twofold – into the story and into ourselves.

And so I managed to tear myself away from Twitter (which I absolutely adore but am slightly worried has contributed to my inability to concentrate on anything for a substantial period of time) and spent a few days curled up in bed (courtesy of a cold and then a bank holiday) hungrily turning pages; and it feels, now that I have reached the end, like I have been slightly changed.

Okay, ‘One Day’ might not have been ground-breaking literature, but it had me in tears (which doesn’t happen often), and it made me feel as though I was sharing in two people’s stories, and it got me thinking about life and love and hope and pain –

I have always thought that you have to experience something in order to write about it, but maybe reading is so important because it gives you another way in?

Amongst a million other things.

So, anyway, I am now convinced that six months without books is quite enough for one lifetime and reading needs to be back on the priorities list. All suggestions will be gratefully received and, whilst I don’t want to spoil the ending, ‘One Day’ is a beautifully touching story and one which I’d definitely recommend.

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6 responses to “What I have remembered about reading…

  1. Same here – I think I’m most happy when I’m totally immersed in a story. It’s a challenge to let go and allow myself to surrender into reading time – it should be top priority.

    And reading does make me want to write more, opens my mind and inspires me. I’m glad that you’ve got that link back. 🙂

    • Me too. Didn’t feel right when it went away. I think it’s the open mind thing and surrendering that I missed. Had spent far too much time caught up in my own head! Am (embarrassingly) belatedly reading the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy now… 😉

  2. I think the best way to find your own voice is to write about what you care about as well as you can. In that way it is engaging and worthwhile to do not just an exercise.

    For reading my recommendations are: P G Wodehouse – at his best one of the very funniest writers; at his worst only very good. Simenon’s Maigret novellas are incredibly good. Alex Miller’s novels are very good too.

    • I think you’re right – it’s just sometime I’m not even sure how to recognise what those things are. I get so excited about lots of little things but never seem to follow them through (hence the reading more and maybe getting more involved with subjects). Thanks for the recommendations! – will add them to my list 🙂

  3. I used to adore reading and then getting ill robbed me of the pleasure. I’ve just started reading again and am remembering the feeling of total immersion. I feel irritated when I have to do something else.

    I have a feeling you’re right about it helping us to find a voice.

    • Yes, I think it got stolen a little from me too. It hurt to not be able to relate at all. I’m glad you’re getting it back again as well. xx

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