*sidles in sheepishly* *has a quick whip around with a duster* Hello, remember me?!
There's a special kind of feeling that comes when returning to something that you absolutely adore, but haven't been able to find the time for. And it feels like this. Like thousands of tiny fireworks dancing in the pit of my stomach. The itchiness my fingers have felt, longing to type out thoughts about the books I have read or the ones I am eager to read soon, transforms into a delightful tingle as they dance over the keyboard with ease. You see, the time has come when the ropes that have tied them to academic essays for the last six years have loosened. Academic essays for me are always a slow burn, lots of careful searching for just the right word that makes me sound more intelligent than I actually am without appearing like I whacked it into the thesaurus and just picked out the one with the most syllables even though it now sticks out of the sentence like a sore thumb, and very little furious typing.
Although for my last ever essay there was quite a lot of furious typing, opting to take a risk and have fun with it without worrying about the final grade. I argued why Rebecca by du Maurier should win the Booker Prize over Nineteen Eighty-Four by Orwell and took great pleasure in imagining the literary elite relishing loudly voicing their disdain whilst admiring with joy the subsequent publicity of such a 'scandal'. I had spent weeks reading critical essay upon critical essay full of scathing comments for Rebecca and I decided they were all quite wrong. And of course it was the piece of work that earned the highest grade I have ever received, thank you mysterious marker for being so kind. There's a life lesson in there somewhere. Go your own way? Something like that. If you're at school now, take risks with your work (calculated ones, of course!), it'll probably pay off!
Anyway, since I saw you last I have read a handful of books...
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke - I liked it, although there was a lull in the middle
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier - a re-read & a book I adore
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell - ditto
Birdy by Jess Vallance - I liked it & must read more YA
Lorali by Laura Dockrill - ditto
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot by David Shafer - I liked it, very clever, lots of social commentary
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling - a re-read and favourite for ever, but I know you already know that
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby - emotional and beautiful
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan - liked it, didn't love it as much as I thought I would
The Bones of You by Debbie Howells - liked it, bit predictable but a fun whodunnit
The Dinner by Herman Koch - brilliantly unsettling
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon - disappointing (sorry, I know it's a favourite of many. It's not you, it's me!)
The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood - my first Atwood, I need to seek out more because her writing is just as brilliant as everyone says
And I'm almost done with The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters - maybe needed a bit of an edit in the middle? But who am I to question the phenomenon that is Waters, so I'm reserving all judgement until I get to the end.
How have you been? Well, I hope? Hello to anyone that's new, I apologise that these parts have been a bit tumble-weedy for a couple of months. That's all about to change!
Leave a comment below letting me know the best book you've read this year so far - I'd love to know!