I've been meaning to write a post here asking if anyone else has found it a lot harder to read decent fiction since they started blogging?
I have. Over the last eighteen months, I've gone from being an avid reader - sometimes taking on fairly challenging fiction - to someone who can only limp through lightweight detective novels. And I think that the reason is that blogging has occupied all of the brain-space that I used to apportion to such books.
I mentally compose far more posts than I actually publish, and because it would be rude to blog without reading what other blogs say, I spend a fair amount of time trawling them (as I hope the content of this blog proves).
Anyway, Shuggy has tagged me with his 'Book Meme Thingy', so with the above in mind, here goes:
1. One book that changed your life - the hardest question first. Dozens have done so slightly, but I can't think of any one particular book that caused a wholesale change in outlook. I think that - even though Alan Silitoe's Saturday Night and Sunday Morning has it's flaws, I'm very glad that I read this when other people were reading the dreary 'Ragged Trousered Philanthropists.' Arthur Seaton is the model autodidact, and his understanding of what was (and is) wrong with the world is a lot more persuasive than most of the crude materialism that passes for social realism. Or do I mean 'idealism'?
It's set in Nottingham y'know...
2. One book that you've read more than once - I re-read a lot more than I read these days. This was the case before blogging put the mockers on literature for me as well. You get a lot more from a book on your second and third look. This is particularly true of Evelyn Waugh's Sword of Honour Trilogy. I'm picking it because it is clearly Waugh's best work. I'd be inclined to chose something by Brian Moore, but all his output was consistently excellent (and it all improves with each visit) so I can't pick just one. M. Bourdieu would probably have something to say about that.
3. One book that you'd want on a desert island - I know that I'd like to read Don Quixote, but I've not done so because every time I start, I decide that it is a book that rewards leisurely reading. It's one that you'd want to savour. And I'm too impatient to savour stuff at the moment. A desert island would create the time, I think.
4. One book that made you laugh - well Waugh and Flann O'Brien would be the obvious answer, but as a blogger, I'm going to acknowledge the brilliant Portadown News. Published initially as a website and later as a newspaper column, it ceased trading a while ago and a valedictory book was published. So 'The Best of the Portadown News' is my choice. You can find everything that was in it - and more at the original site - click on the pic to see the archive.
5. One book that made you cry - Michel Houellebecq's Atomised did the trick here. If you haven't read this yet, stop blogging till you do.
6. One book that you wish you had written - My friend Ann wrote a book called ‘Lost Decade’ about the Pogues - I wish I'd written it, not least because her account of the research alone sounds like it was fun.
7. One book you wish had never been written - If I hadn't been so disappointed by all of Roddy Doyle's ‘Barrytown novels’ (Snapper / Van / Commitments), I would have picked up his excellent 'A Star Called Henry' more quickly than I did. Proof that you can't always judge an author by their previous works.
8. One book that you are reading at the moment - I went to a reading of David Peace's 'The Damned Utd' the other night and it sounds very good. I'm about to start reading it. It's about Brian Clough and I'm a completist on that subject anyway.
9. One book that you've been meaning to read - Philip Roth's 'American Pastoral' - one of the books that I've been 'about to start' almost every week since I started blogging.
10. Five others that you’d like to do this – how about Matt, Skuds, Rockmother, Dave O and Paul A (who is probably too lazy to do this, but worth a try). Go on kids – give it a go.