Wednesday 15 July 2015

Books I'm In The Middle Of Right Now

This post might just as easily be called 'blog posts I'm in the middle of right now' because holy shit, can I not finish an extended piece of writing lately (hey, good luck with that dissertation, me!) I have been reading, just a little bit, things that aren't related to Shakespeare, and since at this moment I don't want to write anything about Shakespeare, let's talk about some of the books that I've started this year and haven't even come anywhere close to finishing (inspired by Alice's sometimes posts), because that's always fun and hasn't led to the hugest pile of books next to my bed ever.

Please note: There is nothing wrong with these books! I like them plenty! I just have no time and mostly I've forgotten I'm even reading a book so just start a new one and oh god I just need my life back...
Anyway, BOOKS!

Look At Me by Jennifer Egan: I have been reading this for an uncomfortably long time. I might have even started it before I started my MA... As always with Jennifer Egan books, it struggles with not being A Visit from the Goon Squad, but I'm halfway through it and it's fine and weird and I'm not entirely sure where she's going with it so I'm going to have to finish it at some point, I guess...
Chances of finishing come September: 5/10 (I've come too far not to)

Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel: I thought I could get away with reading this without guilt because a travelling acting troupe performing Shakespeare in the wake of a planet-devastating epidemic! That's relevant, right?! I've read hardly any of this, but it ticks all of my boxes (Shakespeare, dystopia, weird cults formed out of disaster...) and it's all getting a bit creepy so, yes.
Chances of finishing come September: 9/10 (I'll read it unless I'm wiped out by epidemic)

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling: So I had an excellent plan this year to re-read Harry Potter as a de-stressing exercise, which was an excellent plan until the loss of the Prisoner of Azkaban made me want to murder my housemate (I'm pretty sure he stole it) which was quite a stressful way to feel! Nonetheless, the acquisition of the kindle copy of that led me onto The Goblet of Fire, which I now haven't read for so long I've pretty much forgotten where I'm at, except I know that they haven't done any challenges yet. God, I miss reading...
Chances of finishing come September: 7/10 (once I can read whatever I want again, the re-reads may be abandoned...)

Song of Susannah by Stephen King: Obviously I'm always in the middle of a Stephen King. Less obviously, I've literally only read one of his books this (school) year! I may have replaced King with Shakespeare for a year, but that doesn't make it less sad that I haven't read any of my guyyyy all year. How will I ever get onto his newest books?!
Chances of finishing come September: 10/10 (I'll never be done King-ing... Until I'm literally done)

Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill: From father to son... I have actually only recently started this book (like a week and a half ago...) and I'm doing better with it than I've done with Stephen King all year. But this is a ghost story, and it's so creepy and delicious and every time I read it (which is literally only when I don't have a book with me and have to read on my iPad) I just want to speed through it to the end. Which, considering the amount of time in my week I spend waiting for/on trains, may well happen. The point is, it's very good stuff and I can happily recommend it already.
Chances of finishing come September: 10/10 (or maybe even before! Optimism!)

Hotel Iris by Yoko Ogawa: I think I've read about 30 pages of this or something. It's all a bit sinister and could easily turn upsetting because that's what Ogawa books tend to do, but I'm pretty excited to finish it at some point. Since I've only read 30 pages, though, that's probably an indication I'm not obsessed with it...
Chances of finishing come September: 4/10 (because, meh)

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee: Ok, I've only been reading this for a day as of right now, and yet it is all I want to do with my life and yet I cannot. The internal conflict happening in me at the moment is unbelievable, and yet, I'm being so good and reading dissertation relevant things and being a good girl. Ish. *hand creeps towards book* *pulls hand away* *sighs, makes more notes about adaptation and appropriation*
Chances of finishing come September: 55/10 (come on, I'm going to snap before the end of the day and read the whole. Damn. Thing.)

If you want to get technical, I'm also in the middle of at least 6 more books (not including whatever I've started on my iPad), but these are the major started-yet-abandoned-s. Because I know myself pretty well, I'm positive that when I'm allowed to read freely and irrepressibly again, I won't want to at all, but at least I know where I need to start... By finishing.

To conclude: Please don't listen to anything I've tried to say about not having time to read, because it's all bullshit- I've had time to get awesomely drunk (fell right on my butt, oh yeah), watch almost all of Game of Thrones, spend basically every weekend in June with friends (and one day with Orange Is The New Black), and a myriad of other things I really shouldn't have been doing, so... POOR BOOKS, HOW I HAVE NEGLECTED YOU. This winter though... Watch this space.

Saturday 11 July 2015

Go Set A Watchman: Go Set My Excitement to 5,000,000 Then

As you may have noticed since you're probably a fairly literate person (you're reading a book blog, hello!), Harper Lee's sequel-that-was-actually-written-before To Kill A Mockingbird is due to be released next week. My feelings about this have swung grandly from OH MY GOD to ohhhh crap old lady exploitation, but since it was first announced, I really haven't thought about it too much. I can't really pick a favourite book because OH GOD THE STRESS, but if absolutely forced to, I'd probably pick To Kill A Mockingbird, so both my expectations, and my readiness to be disappointed are kind of high for this book.

Yesterday, The Guardian published the first chapter of Go Set A Watchman, and GO AND READ IT NOW because we are going to discuss this thing. Intently. You good? Good. SO. (And, this should really go without saying but SPOILERS APPROACHING) my initial reaction to anything in this chapter was OMG WTF JEM IS DEAAAAAAAAD! I honestly and truly, upon reading that sentence, felt like someone had killed one of my really good friends. It's almost unbearable to think that, as Lee was writing To Kill A Mockingbird, and making Jem awesome, that she knew he was going to die young. That he had already, in fact, died young. Atticus is old and frail, Scout is a grown up and kisses boys... It's a lot to take in!

Above all else, I think what this one chapter has made me realise is that everything from To Kill A Mockingbird- the characters, the setting, the general fricking amazingness- has been internalised into my entire being so that the death of a fictional character (a death that happened before his childhood was even written) could actually come as a great shock. I settled into chapter one of Go Set A Watchman so easily because these are my people, and I love them, and regardless of what might happen to them, I just want to know what that might be. They've travelled so far beyond the page in my mind that they've become almost like real people, and as long as they act consistently and comprehensibly, I want to see how that unfolds.

Immediately after reading chapter one, I preordered the book. My ambivalence and unease about reading it has been replaced with the desire to JUST KNOW what happens to these people (characters... Whatever...), and I'm really excited to neglect my dissertation once again to read it. Just this morning, I've kind of swung back the other way since I read this fuller idea of the plot (Atticus, whyyyyy?) but I reserve the right to filter out of my mind any undesirable things that might happen. There is a reason, after all, that this is not the version of these characters we were really meant to see, and whilst I'm excited to read it, I will do so with a protective layer of bubble wrap around my mental concept of these characters and their 'real' story.

To summarise: my excitement is now high, and my potential for heartbreak is through the roof. And yet, this is why we read, amiright? I know I'm right.