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Saturday, 25 February 2012

Perspective: Rediscovering Reading After an English Degree

This probably should have been my opening post on the blog, but I've been realizing in the last couple of months just how much I had missed reading for pleasure.

Some of you may think it sounds a little silly to say that I missed reading during my four years studying English Literature. I'm not saying I didn't discover many brilliant books and authors through my studies, but I always felt restricted. There were things I was obliged to read. I found time to discover new authors, but there was always other reading I could be doing in preparation for modules and classes, so I always felt just a little bit guilty.

You may wonder what has caused this sudden outburst of joy at being able to read freely again. I suppose the trigger is having just read a brilliant book 'Tell The Wolves I'm Home' by Carol Rifka Brunt. This book is not out until June, and I'm still waiting to hear from the publisher as to whether they mind me putting up a review in advance of that, but I'll tell you a little bit about the book.

I came by it while doing an open call to publishers for suggestions of authors for the Plymouth International Book Festival (Cyprus Well is a main partner in planning and delivering this, along with Plymouth City Council and the University). Carol's book was mentioned and it immediately sparked my interest.

'Tell The Wolves I'm Home' is about a young teenage girl living just outside New York in the 1980s. Her Uncle dies of AIDs at the beginning of the book, and the story is about coming to terms with this first great loss in her life.

Perhaps it sounds unremarkable, though I really cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this book. The narrator is completely believable, and it is an extraordinarily accomplished first novel. On the train to and from London this past week, the time just flew by as I read this book, and I knew then that I had caught the reading bug once again.

Now I'm constantly thinking about what I'm going to read next, and thrilled by a long weekend because it means I'll have more time to get lost in another book.

I was lying in bed the other night, wanting nothing more than to just read one more chapter, but knowing I needed to sleep, and it reminded me of being a child, and staying up later than I should reading The Borrowers, or Mary Poppins, or any book by Enid Blyton. Inevitably I would wake up at 2am with the lights still on and the book on the pillow next to me.

That said, any recommendations of anything good to read would be great. I want to broaden my horizons, so unusual suggestions are welcome.

3 comments:

  1. If you haven't already found your way to it, I can't recommend 'The Secret History' highly enough. 'Wittgenstein's Mistress' is also unusual and very worth your time.

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  2. I'm going through something similar. Now I'm reading all the books I consider important and that weren't studied during my college years.

    Don't know what books to recommend, I've been reading mostly classics... Really liked your blog, though!

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    1. Thanks for your reply Paula. I looked at your blog, and also really like it- seems we have similar interests. If you do think of any books you think I'd like, let me know. Have just begun 'The Reprieve' by Jean-Paul Sartre.

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