Thursday March 7th, 2013

So yesterday was World Book Day (in the UK – think about it), a day for celebrating all things Book. It was Thursday. It was also a cold, dreary damp sort of day. The sort of day that makes people want to avoid going outside as much as possible. The sort of day that keeps even the weekday shoppers off the High Street. The sort of day when independent bookshops are quiet, unless the browsers are particularly hardy souls. (You can tell I was at work yesterday.)

But thinking about books, in both the professional and the hobbyist sense, set me wondering about my reading habits. At the end of 2011 I posted this. I was going to write a similar post at the end of last year, but when I gathered together the books I had finished, the books I am (still) reading, and the books waiting to be read, the only pile that had shrunk was the pile of books I’d finished. Which was depressing. But also, in a way, a significant achievement nevertheless, having spent so much of last year struggling to concentrate on anything. It still is a struggle. But in the spirit of celebrating reading, and because I enjoyed reading them so much, and because I think you all should too (that good, yes, although I had some reservations about the ending of Sweet Tooth), I herewith present the books I finished last year, and the ones finished this year so far.

Tadah!IMG_2537Not visible is Dan Purdue’s short fiction collection, Somewhere To Start From. That lives in my iPad. Do read it. In your own e-reader variant, of course. Also missing is Jeanette Winterson’s The Daylight Gate, which is on loan to a friend.

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Blog Award

     I’m a bit thrilled and flattered to have been nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award, and by two such very lovely and erudite bloggers too, Martha Williams, who blogs from a wet rock, and Claudia Cruttwell, who once took a hot water bottle to St Lucia.

So having been nominated, it’s my turn to pass on the blog love, display the award thing, and tell you seven things that you didn’t know – and probably really don’t need to know – about me. I promise to keep it clean…

1. I used to be better more useful around the house. Then writing found me in 2008. Now I don’t care so much.

2. When I was small, I wanted to have pointed ears and blue skin. I did NOT want to be a Smurf.

3. I once ate an entire (small) jar of Marmite, with a teaspoon.

4. I dreamed once that I couldn’t get married because I didn’t have the right knickers on.

5. If I could walk away from my life for a year, I’d spend that year in Sweden.

6. It is very easy to make me cry. (Please don’t.)

7. I once pretended to be a coat hook.

So there you are.

And I nominate…

Claire King, (@ckingwriterKirsty Logan (@kirstylogan), Sally Quilford (@Quillers), Emma Darwin (@emma_darwin), Diane Becker (@DotSeven), Katie Anderson (@KTAndersonBlogs), Adam Horovitz (@adamhorovitz), Jane Prinsep (@janeprinsep), Nan Bovington (@wildhyperbole), M J Wright (@MJWrightNZ), Sara Crowley (@sara_crowley), Alison Bacon (@AliBacon), Gareth L Powell (@garethlpowell), Nik Perring (@nikperring), and Jenny Maltby (@SpiralSkies). In my opinion they all inspire, amuse, and are fearless provokers of thought.

Now back to writing…

(I meant it about the Smurf.)

Updated to add that I know some of the people I’ve nominated will be too busy to pick up the blogging baton, but that’s ok.

No, it’s still not finished…

Things have been busy, and strange, and sometimes, strangely busy. Perhaps I am making excuses? Either way, the WIP is still awaiting the first stage of completion. Soon, I promise myself; it is coming together.

In the meantime, we’ve been to Devon, and had a lovely weekend of doing not very much apart from lolling in a hot tub with a glass of red while watching the swallows weave across the sky. I like to think that if we didn’t live in Gloucestershire, we’d live somewhere in Devon; two very different rural idylls. We did also watch the amusing culture-kitsch that is Eurovision; I have to confess to being one who doesn’t take it remotely seriously; I would rather have liked Moldova’s two-tone rapping gnomes to win.

Along with the glass-in-hand type of lolling, goes losing-oneself-in-reading, and I did. I got well and truly lost in the late 18th Century world of Dejima and Nagasaki as evoked in The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, and since emerging, have been wondering what on earth I might read read next. To immerse myself immediately in everything else David Mitchell has written, would I fear be a distraction too far… indeed, since writing that last sentence, life itself has been a distraction too far – I’m completing this post over a week after I started it <hangs head in shame>. Well, I say ‘life’, what I mean is someone else’s life, 8 years or so of Stephen Fry’s, to be precise. Having read The Fry Chronicles – out now in paperback in a bookshop near you! – I have since stepped back in time with Colette’s Cheri… but I will be girding the metaphorical loins, and writingwritingwriting. I bloody well must.

In the meantime, the inestimably lovely Claire King has posted a wonderful cheerleading post that has filled me – and a GREAT many others –  with heart and hope and other helpful words beginning with H.

I’ll be in London for a few days over half term, with my daughter; another thing to look forward to, another thing to take me away from writing…

That’ll do.