Friday, 10 December 2010
Other People Reading
First things first - happy birthday to Our Vicar, and get well soon - he's currently struck down with flu.
Second things second - a while ago I asked on Facebook for non-blogging friends to send me a paragraph or two about what they were reading. And then, of course, promptly forgot about it, which was very silly of me because I had some really great messages.
So, over to them! I simply asked 'What are you reading? Tell me about it...'
The Golden Gate by Vikram Seth
Bought on impulse because it looked so beautiful on the Waterstone's shelf - one of those Faber poetry paperbacks in gorgeous sunny yellow. And it was intriguing. A whole novel in verse? Poetry not usually my bag, I'm not nearly clever enough. But this I LOVE. It totally works. You almost forget it's in verse, the metre just carries you along, and the story and the characters - totally absorbing. I'm 50 pages from the end and cross that I have to work instead of reading it! Can't recommend highly enough.
Anne of Avonlea by L M Montgomery
I'm a complete children's fiction junkie and I loved Anne of Green Gables. I'm not particularly enjoying this book though, the original Anne book is so fresh and vibrant, fast paced and joyful and this sequel just seems to be plodding along trying to emulate that feel. I don't really care what happens next, but I won't walk away as, a bit like Anne herself, I'm always hopeful things will improve. I'll be disappointed if it doesn't get anywhere as I got this in a charity shop bundle with three further sequels and I was hoping they would cover my fiction reading for the next month or so. All the same, I have a terrible feeling that this is going to be a case like Little Women where the author should really have been content with one gem of a novel.
Snark by David Denby
Denby defines 'snark' as personal, low, teasing, rug-pulling, finger-pointing, snide, obvious and knowing abuse. I picked it up out of curiosity as snark is something I often encounter online and something which I try to avoid contributing to or indulging in too heavily - one of the reasons I used to give up celebrity gossip for Lent.
So far I've found it engaging and interesting but I'm not sure how much of that is because I share a lot of Denby's concerns. I also have a sneaking suspicion that part of the appeal is because it allows the author to reproduce (and me to re-read) particularly snarky examples under the guise of criticism.
The strength of the book lies in making explicit some of the little implicit digs - the whispered racism and covert misogyny. It encourages the reader to think about what they are reading or writing and - perhaps - to strive for something better.