Of course, that has its merits too, but it's really just not the same.
So I'm trying to get back to reading. I got a book out of the library - and then had to renew it after three weeks because I hadn't started it, and then had to renew it again after another three weeks because I'd only read the first chapter. Not a good start. Only holiday I bought four books in charity shops, and even read one of them (as well as the library book!) but it seems I didn't take a single picture.
I love reading, but I've never been much of a one for book clubs or talking about books. I never feel I can say the 'right' things, whatever they are. I want to sound intelligent, but often can't get past 'but I really liked it!' This feeling has always put me off talking about reading here until it dawned on me this week that I don't have to say anything at all! What a revelation! I can just tell you what I've been reading, I don't have to provide intelligent analysis and witty commentary.
So here goes - what I've been reading in August:
Simon Garfield - A Notable Woman: The Romantic Journals of Jean Lucey Pratt
A friend bought me this for my birthday. I do love a good diary, especially one set during wartime. I love reading people's accounts of everyday life (which may explain my enthusiasm for reading other people's blogs), although I've never been particularly good at keeping a diary of my own. I confess I didn't really warm to Jean Lucey Pratt at first - she's obsessed with whether she'll be successful, whether she'll find a husband, whether she's doing the right thing or should be doing something else, and her diary contains (I'll be quite honest here) the kind of thing I write when I do try to keep a diary - inner anxieties and vanities and things that are best left unread. However, it seems that Jean did intend her diaries to be read (she mentions it quite frequently...), and, since they start when she is a young teenager and run through until a few weeks before she died sixty years later, by the end I'd become rather fond of her. It made me start thinking about keeping a diary of my own again, but, needless to say, that idea stopped as soon as it started.
Toni Morrison - A Mercy
The only other Toni Morrison book I've read is Beloved, which at times I found distressing and quite hard to follow. This was more straightforward, and marginally less distressing, although it's still definitely not a cheerful read.
Bill Bryson - The Road to Little Dribbling
I read this with some trepidation - in his previous book about Britain he visited a place a mile from where I grew up and was not very complimentary. However, if he did say anything about my current city I obviously wasn't offended by it as I have no memory of him saying anything at all.
Albert B Robillard - Meaning of a Disability: the Lived Experience of Paralysis
I started reading this for work, but rapidly found myself drawn in. This is a true account of the author's experience of developing motor-neuron disease, becoming paralysed and losing his speech. The first few chapters deal with his frustrations at medical professionals and acquaintances refusing to communicate with him, which is both distressing and a good lesson for the rest of us. Again, not a particularly cheerful read.
There, that wasn't so hard, was it? I'd love to hear what you've been reading if you're willing to share.