Tuesday, 20 July 2010

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.

The title is from ~Ray Bradbury

I read. Lots! I believe the term is voracious. It has been the one truly constant thing about me ever since I was very small. I was far ahead of my reading age. My primary school (age 4-11) ran a system where you had to read so many books with a coloured sticker on and give a coherent report on them and then you could move to the next colour. Once you had completed all the colours you were a free reader and had access to the entire library. I was at that point by my third year (age 7 ish). Christmas and birthday presents until I was around 15 were book tokens. As an only child (my brother didn't come along until I was 18) books were a wonderful thing. How can you be bored or need entertaining when you have whole universes at your fingertips?

I have carried this love of the written word into my adult life. At university I studied English Literature. Some of it was enjoyable but I personally find trying to read a book I am not enjoying is some kind of torment. A lot of people think that studying literature is an easy degree. I can't really argue but that is because I love reading. However getting through 4 novels a week can be quite hard! It did mean that I was able to go on holiday just before my exams though as revision was sat by the pool with a book :o)

These days the library is my best friend. As part of our life now I do try and avoid buying new books. Second hand ones are good. There are certain things that I still buy new. My favourite series of books is The wars of Light and Shadow by Janny Wurts. Whenever a new one comes out it gets bought straight away. No power in the verse could make me wait for Arithon S'ffalenn :o) The other one that has been bought new is Return to Labyrinth. Being a huge Labyrinth fan as soon as I found out about the manga sequel I was at my local comic shop and had them bought. The final one is released today so at some point this week (funds willing) I will be curled up on the sofa with Jareth.

Manga and graphic novels have featured heavily on my agenda recently. The only problem with them is I can go though a 1000 page novel in a day if I have nothing else to do. Take away all the words that aren't speech and I'm going to be done in a few hours at most. This means that the library can't keep up with me. *sigh*

A word is not the same with one writer as with another. One tears it from his guts. The other pulls it out of his overcoat pocket. ~Charles Peguy

I love the written word. I love how a good book can make you feel. Laughing out loud at Prachett, crying at Bronte. I love how I can read the same book over and over and feel exactly as I did the first time I read it. I love how a really good book makes you feel that the author is speaking directly to you. I love how I am never alone as long as I have a book.


  1. Amen, sister! I could totally put my signature below this piece (well, apart from the university thing - no degree for me ;).

    "I love how I can read the same book over and over and feel exactly as I did the first time I read it." Exactly! So many people cannot understand how you can read a book twice, much less a few times... It is like chatting with an old friend, someone you are completely comfortable with - and even if the things you talk about are nothing new, with every year lived you see things differently... I have read my favourite book "Pride and Prejudice" more than a dozen times and it was a pleasure every time....

    I have not heard about you favourite series before, but since I'm always on the lookout for new fantasy novels I will have a look into it. Unfortunately I have to buy my English books, because our library carries only a few of them (penguin classics like Dorian Grey and the likes). Thank god for Amazon marketplace!

    Right now I'm reading rather serious stuff (“The outline of sanity” from Chesterton) but it is in English and way over my head ;). Ever heard of it?

  2. I studied literature for my degree, too. Like you, I read well from a very young age and could spend hours lost in a book - I would often have several books on the go at once - one in my bedroom, one in the sitting room, one in my bag...... I lost that love when doing my degree - as you say, it can be a tourment having to read a book that you do not enjoy. I think reading became more of a chore than a pleasure at that point and it took me a long time to pick up a book once I had finished my studies. With hindsight I should probably have chosen a different subject to study!

    I share your love of Prachett - to the point where my pooch goes by the name of Binky (Death chose the name for his steed because "it's a nice name", who am I to disagree?). I'm actually reading The Wee Free Men for the ?nth time at the moment. Douglas Adams is also pretty high on my laugh-out-loud-whilst-reading list.