Friday, 28 September 2007

A book meme...

Just a meme today as there's not much to report on the writing front because I've developed a stinky cold (I was ill a month ago for God's sake. This isn't fair! Still, that's what stress, a general lack of sleep and pushing yourself too hard at work and with writing does for you. I need to rest up).

Oh, I did do a little bit of hardcopy editing on the train home (before I collapsed on the sofa with a blanket and hot cup of tea). Here's a tip for other writers: don't take a book, newspaper or magazine on the train with you. Take a print-out of your novel instead. You'll get so bored of watching other people snore you'll dig it out of your bag and get reading! I still have to type up the changes I made so my edit counter hasn't moved yet but I have made a bit more progress.

Anyway, the book meme. The lovely jj tagged me for this. Here are my answers...

Total number of books...

Oh God, LOADS, probably hundreds. I've got two bookshelves in my bedroom and two in my living room (and a separate shelf) and I've run out of space. There are piles of books everywhere. I gave away a box full of books to a charity a couple of weeks ago and I've got another bag full of books to take to the charity shop in my hall

Last book read...

I'm currently reading In Search of Adam by Caroline Smailes but haven't read as much as I would have liked as I'm having to snatch bits of time here and there and really need to give myself a few good hours (or a whole afternoon on the sofa) to lose myself in it. I have to say that what I've read so far is fantastically powerful. In fact, after one particular scene at the beginning of the book I felt physically sick for several hours. The fact that Caroline can create such a strong physical reaction in me through her use of words is testament to the power and skill of her writing.

Last book bought...

That would be Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction by Lisa Tuttle. I didn't end up writing the sci fi story I'd planned for a competition and instead sent in a comedy piece (it was in my 'old stories' folder and I basically re-wrote it). That said I still want to write my sci fi story at some point but there's no rush now. The fantasy section of the book will still come in useful when I start outlining my children's book. Ummm, yes, having said earlier that stress is making me ill I've decided to try and write a children's book in a month to enter into the Times competition. Yeah, yeah, I know - I'm pushing myself too hard but there's nothing like a deadline to get me fired up. If it weren't for another comp - you know the one - I might not have finished my novel so why break a successful formula? Feel free to berate me when I get hospitalised halfway through October ;o)

5 Meaningful books...

This one is really tricky. How do I choose just five books that are meaningful to me out of all the ones I own. Okay, rather than examine all the shelves I'm going to go with the ones that pop into my head first.


1. The Faraway Tree Stories by Enid Blyton

This series of books totally grabbed my imagination as I child and I fell into the stories, totally losing myself in the tree, the characters, the worlds at the top and the adventures. Enid Blyton was my childhood hero and inspired me to write.

2. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.

In my mid teens I really got into novels about dystopian futures and this was my favourite. The other two were Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury and 1984 by George Orwell. Which leads me onto...

3. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood.

I only discovered Margaret Atwood relatively recently (about four years ago) and this was the first of many of her books that I read. Not only is this book about a dystopia but it's also fantastically written. I so, so admire Margaret Atwood's writing style and even enjoyed the first book she ever had published (which is probably her weakest). Last year I even got to meet her (well, I went to the London Book Fair, listened to her talk and queued up for her to sign her latest book, The Tent). I know lots of people really rate 'Alias Grace' and it's on my bookshelf - waiting to be devoured when I go on holiday towards the end of October.

4. Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse

In my early twenties I took off on a tangent and started reading books by Henry Miller, Simone de Beauvoir, Dostoevsky, Nabokov, Oscar Wilde, Albert Camus and Herman Hesse. Apart from
The Picture of Dorian Gray the book that had the most profound effect on me was Steppenwolf. It's not a book that women typically relate to (as far as I know) but I lost myself in Steppenwolf's mind and his perception of the world (sorry, I know that sounds pretentious).

5. After You'd Gone by Maggie O'Farrell

This is probably quite a popular choice but I LOVED this book. I loved the story, I loved Maggie's writing style, I loved the sense of mystery and other worldliness. In fact, if there was one book I read as an adult that made me think "I want to write something like this" it's this book.

So that's that and now I'm feeling horribly guilty about all the books I didn't mention, like "Lord of the Flies", "To Kill a Mockingbird" and countless more modern novels that I fell in love with. Am scared to look at my bookshelves now in case I have to come back and revise this entry!

And now I have to tag five more people to fill out this meme so I choose:

A. Writer, Sally Quilford, womag writer, Nichola and Sarah G.


Cathy said...

After You'd Gone has been a real inspiration to me, too.

I want to be able to write like that!

Caroline said...

I loved After You'd Gone. This really is a great mememememememe.I'm going to complete it this weekend.

Hope you're feelign better soon. And ... as for ISoA ... thank you x

A. Writer said...

I LOVED The Faraway Tree Stories! I remember I couldn't get enough of them at bedtime and annoyed my gran/mum until they read the stories over and over and over again until I was definitely asleep! lol!

I read The Picture of Dorian Gray at school and I absolutely loved it! It was the first 'proper' book that I chose to read and I'm so glad I chose it.

Thanks for the tag!

SallyQ said...

Thanks Cally. Give me time to get my washing done and I'll put up my meme.

I love The Picture of Dorian Gray too, and A Handmaid's Tale is on my list of books I want to read.