Sunday, 3 November 2013

Sunday Summary: Wilkie, NaNoWriMo and light reading.


It's been a busy old week this week, and though I got off to a good start on Sunday and Monday by making a nest and ignoring the world in favour of books, blankets and biscuits, one week on I am only half-way through Cathy Kelly's latest book, The Honey Queen. I decided to read this one as a bit of fluff after the short but heavy-going Slaughterhouse 5. Slaughterhouse 5 was an interesting read, but one which I think I would actually enjoy more if I were studying it, reading and rereading and taking notes. Though quite simply written, there is so much beneath the surface about humanity, war, death and time, that I don't think you can really appreciate the full impact on a first read.

It's a funny thing, but I often find "light" reading to be harder work than more "literary" or bulky novels. Although I am enjoying The Honey Queen, which reads rather like a miniature soap opera, focusing on the lives of various inhabitants of a small Irish town, it seems to be taking a long time to read. I have read just over 200 pages in a week. Is it because there are a lot of characters to keep track of, or because it is a character-based rather than plot-driven narrative? Is it because my inner critic finds more to say about the writing style, or perhaps it's just not all that exciting? I don't know. It's certainly not badly written, although I do find that what Ms Kelly tells us about some of her main characters doesn't seem to tally with what she shows us. And it is a very warm, cosy community to lose myself in. But something about this book makes reading it a much more drawn-out process than logic dictates it should be.

November marked the beginning of NaNoWriMo (National novel-writing month) which I decided to participate in out of a feeling of desperation. All my life, my writing has been the thing that has most defined me, but lately I haven't written very much aside from this blog. I'm terrified that I've lost the knack or the drive or the ability, and so I'm using NaNoWriMo to re-teach myself the art of Making Things Up And Writing Them Down. I got off to a good start on Friday, but yesterday I went out for a family meal after work, and I only managed a couple of hundred words scribbled in a notebook on my lunch break. But I don't mind too much if I don't reach the target of fifty thousand words this year, as long as I keep going and create a story.

Also, on a whim, I signed up to Ellie's "Read Wilkie" readalong of The Moonstone, which I am enjoying very much, though I have not got very far into it. It's a nice, laid-back readalong, so one I should be able to fit in alongside NaNoWriMo and any other books I have on the go at any one time. This afternoon, I'm meeting an old school friend for coffee, then afterwards I'm going to see the sequel to Thor at the cinema.

Have a good week, everyone!

10 comments:

  1. Hah, I currently have The Moonstone and Slaughterhouse in reading as well. Vonnegut got pushed aside a bit, partly because the readalong started and partly because ... I just don't click very well with his writing. Which is sad, I really want to like his work (one of those authors).

    Anyway, good luck with the writing project for the whole month - so many bloggers seem to participate!

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    1. I got through Slaughterhouse 5 in 2 days, because I knew if I put it down I would probably be reluctant to pick it up again. Vonnegut is certainly hard work - which is not necessarily a bad thing, but at the moment I don't much want to work very hard at my reading; I just want to be entertained. Maybe when I'm feeling a bit more "literary" I'll reread the book and think more about what I'm reading. Feel like I barely scratched the surface this time round.

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  2. The Moonstone is such a great book! I'm reading The Woman in White now, and I'm enjoying it but it's so much more fun to read Wilkie as a part of a readalong.

    Good luck on your writing!

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    1. I meant to read The Woman In White years ago, but then I lent my copy to a friend and never saw it again. One of these days I will buy another copy. I'm really liking The Moonstone so far.

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  3. I don't know what it is about 'light' reading, but I know exactly what you mean about it sometimes seeming like hard work. I don't know if it's maybe the fact that sometimes in more literary works the writing draws you in more, makes you more absorbed in a different way, whereas the very fact that some lighter books ARE lighter means you aren't really captured in quite the same way as you're reading? I can still love the book, don't get me wrong, but it can sometimes feel like it's taken longer and been more difficult to really sink into. DOES THIS MAKE ANY SENSE AT ALL?! Who knows...

    I'm finally about to start The Moonstone today, now that I've finished my previous fiction read - Attachments, at last! - and I AM SO JEALOUS THAT YOU'VE SEEN THOR. The first film was so much fun, I really want to go see the second one (more Loki and shirtless Hemsworth? YES PLEASE) but I've got to wait for my sister to have an evening free. She's so busy every night at the moment, I hope she's got time for a cinema evening before it disappears off the big screen!

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    1. IT ABSOLUTELY MAKES SENSE. I'm so glad I'm not alone in thinking this.

      The Thor film was SO GOOD! There were definitely a few camera shots of Mr Hemsworth that had to be put in especially for the ladies (and gay men) which is very refreshing for a comic-book film! Also Loki. Always Loki. The film was definitely at its best once he got involved, which will surprise no one. Jane's back-up team were also good for a giggle. OH YOU MUST SEE THIS FILM. I plan to write a more coherent review of it during the week. Yay Thor!

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  4. Slaughterhouse 5 is definitely a re-reader I think. I only read it a few weeks ago but I know I missed out on some detail so one day I'll give it another go.

    Good luck with Na-No-Wri-Mi and I hope you really enjoy The Moonstone!

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    1. I'm sure I'll reread it, once my to-read pile is under control. Right now it seems that I look away for one minute and whoops, another three books have landed on the pile, oh dear, how did this happen? :D Very much enjoying the Moonstone so far.

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  5. I started NanoWriMo too, but I've only been able to write on ONE DAY and even missed my target for that so it's clearly clearly clearly not going well :/ It figures that everything happens on the one month that you want time to write, right?

    I'm doing to read-a-long too, which is going a lot better than Nano, thank God. I'm actually LOVING The Moonstone! I meant to stop at the halfway point but I've just hammered it and I'm kind of near the end now. It's SO GOOD.

    Lots of capitals tonight apparently.... sorry!

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    1. On the day when I do get to do some writing I've been getting about 1000 words down, which is not terrible, though below target. But you're quite right - The Moonstone, blogging and life seem to be getting in the way of getting as much writing done as I'd like. But some words are a lot better than no words.

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