katiefoolery: (fivedotnerds)
Well, one video. But definitely more than one book.

This week's video is a bit of a catch-up on my week. Which is rather logical. Why not spare a couple of minutes and catch up on said weekness?

Unfortunately, I've finished reading House of Many Ways by now. I really didn't want to. I tried my hardest to avoid it, but it happened eventually. This book definitely felt like a return to Diana Wynne Jones's inventively magical best, especially after I failed to be blown away by The Pinhoe Egg. If you've read Howl's Moving Castle, then you need to read House of Many Ways. And if you haven't read Howl... why on earth not? It's all fairytales and sarcasm and vanity and confusion. And yes, it's much better than the movie version, although the adaptation certainly has its charms. I just prefer my Howl to be a jerk, not a misunderstood anti-hero.

One of the things I like about Diana Wynne Jones is the way her characters develop in a very understated way. I was just sitting here thinking that Charmain never really grew or changed throughout House... but she did, in much the same way Sophie does in Howl's Moving Castle.

So read it. And then you can read Company of Liars, for it is similarly addictive. It's set in the time of the plague in England, but it might as well be a fantasty realm. Superstitions are upheld and mythical creatures are believed in - even a man with a wing for an arm is accepted as something that just happens. It's fascinating and beautifully written and packed full of fascinating characters. And yes, it's another book that really shouldn't have to end, but inevitably does.

Since I seem to be developing a trend here, I'm going to ask you all to recommend me your latest book-you-can't-put-down. Please?

(Also, I saw Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and now believe that Luna Lovegood is made of some sort of crazy awesome. She was seriously the best thing about that movie and she was only in about three scenes or something.)
katiefoolery: (fivedotnerds)
We're all guilty of reading popcorn fiction.  All of us.  Yes, even you.  And especially you.  Sometimes you need a break; a little snack in between meals.

Strangely, this is the exact subject of my vlog this week!  I'll bet you've never seen a smoother, more subtle segue in your life...  And now, with all the gentleness and sophistication of a sledgehammer, let me point you in the direction of this week's vlog and all its vloggish goodness.  Watch, as I reveal my popcorn fiction of the moment... then become distracted by the pretty sky:

I've told you mine; now it's your turn to tell me yours.  What do you read when you need a break in your reading?
katiefoolery: (Black Fiddle cover)
I have been reading in the manner which is often referred to as “voraciously” or, alternatively, “as though it’s going out of fashion”.  In fact, it struck me the other day that I haven’t been this obsessed with reading since I was about fourteen or fifteen.  The internet didn’t really exist then, so the family computer was purely for, well, fighting over with my brother and my dad.  Three of us on the one computer, all needing it for various reasons of importance.  How did we cope?

So, as I was saying: when I couldn’t get my skinny but rather strong fingers on the keyboard of said computer, then all that was left to me was reading.  Or homework.  But who’d do homework when there’s a good book to be had?

I had a reputation as a Reader since primary school.  The librarian there fully expected me to read about three books overnight and would have passed out in shock if I’d only read two.  And when I moved on to secondary school, I had to factor in a bus-trip that took one hour one way and half an hour back... plenty of time for reading there.  And that’s what I did.  I read.  Voraciously.

That’s not to say that I stopped once I left secondary school – not at all.  But I no longer grabbed every spare minute for reading and I often had to spend my time on public transport reading books or notes for uni, which isn’t really recreational unless you’re a masochist.  In the last few years, most of my reading has been reserved for work and for travelling home from work.  Hardly any of it has been done at home.

But for the last few weeks, all that has changed.  Nothing pleases me more than to curl up in my reading chair (after having brushed copious amounts of Pickle-fur off first, of course) and to dive into my latest book.  I’ve even put aside the internet in favour of a book, which is quite a development, really.

And a most miraculous thing has happened.  I find I am stuffed full of words.  I have soaked up the words of these books and kept pouring them in until I was full up.  For the first time in a very long while, I have felt a genuine, physical need to write, to get the words out of me and into a story.  It seems that my previous level of reading was only just keeping my word-level at minimal: this sudden influx of thousands and thousands of words has well and truly brought my word-level right up to full.  To overflowing, in fact.

Everyone says reading is good for writers.  You can’t be a writer if you’re not a reader in the first place.  But it turns out that there’s no such thing as moderation in reading.  You shouldn’t cut back on books... for any reason.  It’s far too dangerous.  You cannot have too much of a good thing when it comes to books.  In fact, it’s quite possible to have too little.  I don’t think it’s fatal, but it can certainly make your writing quite anaemic.

So, I shall keep up this level of reading, if I possibly can.  I shall balance internet, reading and writing to the best of my ability.  And I shall ask for recommendations, because I’ve reached the bottom of my reading pile.  Once I finish The Eyre Affair, I’ll be needing some books to fill the void.  So, please tell me: what’s your favourite book and why should I read it?  I need to know, lest my word-level falls too far to be recovered.

April 2011

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