I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately. How do you read so fast? How can you cope with more than one book at a time? Where do you FIND the time? So I thought I would write a little post all about my reading habits and hopefully answer some of those queries. I have always been a big reader of books, from about the age of 13. I always had my head stuck into a novel, quite often several, and that habit has stayed with me throughout my life. I can remember quite clearly my mother moaning at me “Do you HAVE to leave all these books lying around, why do you seem to have one in every single room all half read?” I didnt know the answer – I still don’t. Its just me. Its how I roll. When I examine it a little more closely I realise that what I read depends on my mood. Lets take this moment in time for example. I have four books on the go – every single one of them is taking my attention – but they are all very different. So no matter what mood I am in, I have a book to turn to. Four at a time is probably the most I’ve ever done, usually its two…but at this particular point in my life I have found that I needed an extensive compliment of books to suit various needs throughout my reading day. Coincidentally I have also been sent some books for review that I have been very much looking forward to – I don’t accept books that I don’t think I will like because that does the author nor myself any favours – but the universe has fixed it so I have the right books at the right time. Been happening a lot lately – remember “The Humans”? Lets take a look.
“After Phoenix” by Martine McDonagh is a family drama. Set in the 70’s in the aftermath of the loss of a family member, it is dealing with grief. I am following the remaining members of this family through their terrible time – seeing their reactions, knowing their thoughts…and it is speaking to me in a very real sense because of things I am also going through. Its brilliant. Evocative, emotional and very very real. I am living those moments with them in a very real way and its doing me good AND giving me an enjoyable reading experience at the same time. But because it IS so emotional and heart wrenching, I can’t just read it start to finish – my reading mood changes.
So. Next book in my currently reading list is “What Lots Wife Saw” by Ioanna Bourazopoulou. Winner of the 2007 Athens Prize for Literature, it is to be published for the first time over here in June. A post apocalyptic sweeping delight of a novel, when I’m in it I’m living in a completely different world – one where life is hard, the world has changed in indescribable ways and yet still, the human spirit is strong. Many intriguing and amazing characters pepper its pages, every single one of them a delight to behold and the story is intriguing, absorbing and intelligent. When my mood says “escape for a while” well, here is the perfect novel just sat on my bed, bookmarked and ready to go. Even now writing this I am deperately looking forward to getting back to it! That and the others…. UPDATE: Full review of “After Phoenix” now available in the fiction section.
Thirdly we come to “The Unquiet Grave” by Steven Dunne. Crime Fiction. One of my favourite genres – and this is a book that features DI Damen Brook, a character I have met before in Mr Dunne’s other novels – and loved. Each novel has been bigger and better than the one before so I was absolutely DELIGHTED to receive an advanced copy. When it arrived I had to hide it – at that moment I had real life stuff to be dealing with and if it was in my sight then the world would have been lost to me for a good few hours. Once the “Had to be done” stuff was over with, I picked it up and was immediately there – a hidden killer, a determined detective and well. Life. The thing about Steven Dunne is he writes life – human motivation, why violent people act as they do. And Damen Brook really has amazing depth to his character – this book like the others is going to be SO much more than just a thriller or a mystery. Again though, sometimes my reading mood won’t accept the violent side. It needs to go elsewhere – perhaps on an adventure…so we come to the final book in my currently reading list….
A Foreign Country by Charles Cumming. A book I downloaded onto my Kindle an age ago, and one that the lovely lasses Hannah and Kate at Harper Collins have been bugging me to read. A spy thriller – not my usual fayre, but Hannah and Kate have NEVER sent me down the wrong path and this seemed like the perfect time to add it to my head so to speak. And boy its good! Its pacy, exciting, great characters doing shadowy things, a mystery and well, a book I’m loving to read while eating chips dipped in Salad Cream. Ok, not for everyone that food combination but it works for me. Anyone who knows my current situation will know that eating chips is amazing…brilliant…not to be sneezed at – and A Foreign Country is the perfect novel to occupy my mind while I’m eating – because I’m moving through life with Thomas Kell, being a super spy in my head, and before I know it a whole plateful of food…gone!
So there we go. Thats why it works for me. Books being a huge part of my life, and my early career as a proof reader having given me the skills to read at a great pace, means that yes. I can enjoy more than one book at a time. No they NEVER get jumbled in my head. My reading mind is always exactly where it is supposed to be. How about you? One at a time? More than one? How DOES it work for you, I’d be interested to know. So keep an eye out for full and frank reviews of all my current reads when they are done and whatever you are reading – Enjoy!