'Writers write', said Stephen King, and as a long afficionado of this fervent and occasionally schlocky writer, I take this advice to heart. Writers should write. Every day. Like it's work. No, because it is work. Practice getting words out into blank space until they cease to feel like awkward building blocks and become something flowing, something sculpted, something continuous.
Writers also read, though. My memory is something more like sandstone than marble these days, like most adults, so things leave less lasting impressions, but I must have faith they leave something. So, books, lately. I picked up Karl Ove Knausgaard's first book in his autobiographical series. Why on earth are people going bananas over this long dreary soliloquy about a man's relatively ordinary life, I wondered, jealously, before browsing the lucid prose and conceding my unequivocal defeat. The secret is in the storytelling, not the story itself. I've often thought of writing my own misery memoir, but I don't yet have the talent for making it into autobiography. I had to return it to the library as i was moving house. My adventure into the experience of being a small boy in Norway and all that happens there and thereafter is going to have to wait.
Then Blackout, by Sarah Hepola. A memoir of drinking, drinking too much too often, and then the experience of not-drinking. I love the honesty, the energy. The neat little spins of phrase. Beer is the gasoline of adventure. The pages she wrote that had the last-call honesty of someone pulling the listener close. It's a zinger.
I also chewed through Robin Hobb's latest kick at Fitz and the Fool, in the new trilogy of that name, Fool's Assassin. Man but did it take several multiple hundreds of pages before that title made sense. Relapsing into an old heavy genre-fantasy tome addiction, I did 608 pages in one night and half a day. Who am I kidding? She's an excellent writer and I loved being back in the slow moving detail of her world. She never overdid it, like JV Jones. On the other hand, now I have renewed interest in tracking down Endlords if it ever gets written. And yet I remain ever grateful that ASOIAF has given rise to Game of Thrones, which will ensure that the story gets finished before my first grey hairs sprout and the next book is published.
DBC Pierre, Breakfast with the Borgias, and Lights Out In Wonderland. Breakfast with the Borgias was a waste of two lengthy commutes that equated a whole day of reading. Man arrives at hotel, man is quashed into a surreal dreary grey magical realist f-ed up setting full of quibbles of slightly interesting dialogue and violent events, culminating in the reader wondering what the hell is going on and whether to keep turning the pages. I might get it, I might not. I don't care, I'm not remembering that one. It might as well have been one of those children's ghost stories where it turns out the narrator has been dead all along, or something, y'know, whatever, totally surprising. It was my second re-read of Lights Out and I still can't figure out entirely what's happening in the ending. Alas, googling this question does not lead me to enlightening Reddit threads. I think he's telling me to shrug it all off, and enjoy the ride nevertheless. Variants of this message have already been poignantly etched into my heart by Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch, and the words of a special favourite painter, Zdzislaw Beksinski, that if you're viewing hell you might as well do it from a comfortable seat. Well, he certainly crafted some clever scenes.
Stephen King's Bazaar of Bad Dreams. I was so happy to see another collection of short stories from him. He was the first writer to bridge me from the Childrens section to the Adults, back when I was so little and shy that I was afraid I was trespassing in there. I loved Just After Sunset, Everything's Eventual, Full Dark No Stars was... harrowing and even ridiculous at times, but all right, pretty classic King and thus good reading. I made it through about three or four stories before relegating this one back to the library. I feel bad about writing that. But it's a big book and my nightstand is covered with competing clutter.
Caitlin Moran. How to Build a Girl, Moranthology, Moranifesto. All available in quick succession. Messy, ebullient, ridiculous, smart, female, and her writing too. The Moranifesto still lives happily on the nightstand and is on re-read for when my daily inner monologue still hasn't had a chance to bubble out and it's dark already. It's an excellent writing spur.
That leaves me down to three remaining books - Bill Bryson's One Summer:1967, Michael Brooks - The Secret Anarchy of Science, and [Somebody's] - Epigenetics, a Graphic Guide. The bookshelf is getting skinny.
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