Apologies that this blog went silent after about the first week of the rereadathon. I've been keeping up my rereading, fitting it around work and writing, but haven't been making notes as I went along. But it's been a great fortnight of rediscovering old and more recent favourites, and although I didn't get through my entire pile, I read the books I realistically expected to.
Number of books read: 8
"Big" novels: 3
Which were: The Martian - Andy Weir
11.22.63 - Stephen King
Fingersmith - Sarah Waters
School stories: 5
Which were: First Term at Malory Towers - Enid Blyton
The School at the Chalet - Elinor M. Brent-Dyer
Charlotte Sometimes - Penelope Farmer
The Girl in the Blue Tunic - Jean Ure
First Term at Trebizon - Anne Digby
Total pages read: 2402
Favourite reread: 11.22.63
A few last thoughts.
It was an absolute joy to reread my two favourite books from last year, and one which I reread a couple of years earlier. Of these three "big" books, 11.22.63 was the one which kept me every bit as gripped as on the first reading, and has probably earned itself a place in my top five books of all time. I wanted to read The Martian again before the film was released, not realising it's coming out at the end of next week - just in time for my birthday! It's a really believable science fiction novel, a tale of survival, and a celebration of human creativity and spirit against incredible odds. I'm really looking forward to seeing it on the big screen. Fingersmith is a mischievous adventure full of scoundrels and rogues, skulduggery and double-crossing, although on a second reading I was a little bit more critical than the first time around, noticing in a few places when the plot was just a bit too contrived. But it's a lot of fun, nonetheless.
On boarding school stories
I read through a range of boarding-school stories in preparation for my NaNoWriMo project for this year, written between about 1926 and 1997. It's interesting just how many books and series in the genre begin with the protagonist being a new girl in her class, when everyone else has settled into school for a few terms and got to know each other - four of the five books I read conformed to that pattern, and in fact I intend to use it myself this November. Harry Potter, while drawing on the grand old tradition of British Boarding School literature, is unusual for introducing an entire new class at the same time - there are never any new kids or transfer students at Hogwarts, except for the first years each September.
Three of the books were conventional school-stories of lessons, games and pranks, while two had a fantastical or supernatural plot to them - ghosts and time-travel, the latter of which (Charlotte Sometimes) has a similar premise (in reverse) to my planned story, of a schoolgirl finding herself in a different time period and having to adjust to an alien way of life, while being mistaken for someone else. I was struck by how short the books were - most of them under 200 pages - and am aware that this is going to be a challenge for me, as I have a tendency for rambling on. My current work in progress is at nearly 100 000 words and only just past the halfway mark. I'm starting to grow concerned, although I expect to cut a lot in the next draft. If my NaNoWriMo target is 50 000 words in a month, I want to reach that word count without having too much more left to write afterwards.
What to read next?
Since this year, I've been sticking to a "read 3, buy 2" rule, which has lasted eight months, but now my to-read shelf is looking sadly empty, so I've decided to relax that a little. I'm certainly overdue a good old book-shopping spree, and in October I'm going to Hay-on-Wye and all its bookshops, as well as, hopefully, Stratford-upon-Avon with some of the other bloggers. (Is that still going ahead, guys?) I've picked out a few books for the rest of September, but that is, as ever, subject to my moods and whims. It does look as though I need to buy some books that aren't from the science fiction, fantasy and horror shelves, though!
Not pictured: Wintersmith and Small Gods by Terry Pratchett, and Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke, borrowed from my dad, and 3 of the 80p Penguin Mini Classics books.