Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Summertime and the Reading is Easy

I'm not "on holiday" as I don't technically have a job...

I'm feeling none of that "school's out" euphoria and freedom that summer brings to teachers (and students). There's no "got to cram a year's worth of chores/partying/travel into two weeks" for lucky, lucky me. 

But still, getting to "the end" of my WIP in mid-July means that I've been feeling freer than usual, and the past few weeks of summer have felt like proper holiday time. 

As old habits die hard, I've done what I've always done during summer vacations--I've gone on a reading binge.

I'm still on one, in fact.

What have I been reading this summer? Let's start with the birthday presents--

May We Be Forgiven by A.M. Homes 

Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel 

Then are there are the "beach reads":

The Angel's Game and Prisoner of Heaven  by Carlos Ruiz Safron (both re-reads, but as I was in and around Barcelona...) 

The Paris Wife by Pauline McLain

The Victoria Vanishes (Bryant and May investigate) by Christopher Fowler.

When will Bryant and May be a TV series?   

There have been some shorter books, squeezed into a day's reading

Mist in the Mirror by Susan Hill

Joyland by Stephen King

I hope I like the book as much as I do the cover! 

And on my TBR pile are This Book Will Save your Life (A.N. Homes again) and Where'd You Go, Bernadette?" by Maria Semple.

So, what do my choices say about me? 

1) I need a strong narrative.

2) I like genre fiction (historical, horror, ghost, mystery) but only when written by the very best. I struggle with thrillers, for example, because the writing is usually more Dan Brown than John LeCarre.  

3) I relish stories that have very specific locations (London for the Bryant and May series and the Mantel, Barcelona for the Ruiz Safron, though I wasn't at all convinced by the Europe of The Paris Wife.)

And finally...

4) There are no children's or YA books on my summer reading list...

Gulp. Sorry...

I've got a big YA TBR pile, so I can only conclude that as writing for young people is my "work", reading YA in the summer holidays feels a bit like work, too. 

As much as I love reading YA or middle grade, I don't seem to be able to lose myself as easily or completely as I do with an "adult" book. I tend to read more consciously, analysing structure and pace and language and dialogue--there is so much to learn from other writers! 

Of course, I'm learning from Hilary Mantel and Christopher Fowler, too, but it's a more immersive (if that's a word) and less conscious educational experience. But who knows, one day I may want to write a charming, exciting and literate mystery of my own, or even challenge the greatest historical (or any) novelist of her (or any) time...

But for now, I'll let them do the writing while I take it easy and have all the fun.

Happy reading everyone! 

No comments:

Post a Comment