"You talk a load of crap, carrot top" (Anonymous)
"consistently good and sometimes bonkers!" (Tony Jones)
"You obviously pi$$ people off a lot"
"One Dangerous Lady" (Anonymous)
"Clearly a very unpleasant person" (Grace Nicholas, Cornwall)
Wednesday, 6 October 2010
not the town in Berkshire (this time) but the activity of consuming words with the brain. Norm links to an article by a James Collins in the New York Times who says he does not remember the books he reads, and wonders if he should be concerned about that. A Prominent Neurologist says he shouldn't, that the data from the books he cannot remember are still there somewhere in his brain, and that he is a different person as a result. Or something. I am not clever enough to understand all this Scientific Stuff. When I was a child my mother called me a "bookworm" because I read a lot. But it wasn't true. I did read a lot, but I understood very little of what I read, and for me until at least my teens, and possibly much older, it was the physical activity of reading I enjoyed - I quite often found the text boring, especially if it was hard to understand, either because it was intended for readers older than me or just because I wasn't clever enough to understand it. I liked the autonomy reading gave me. It was something you did that no-one else could do for you, that you could do either on your own or when other people were around, and no-one could watch you doing it and say you were doing it wrong. You didn't get marks for it at school after the age of about eight either. When I got good reports at primary school my parents said the teacher was stupid and hadn't understood that I Wasn't Clever and Couldn't Do Maths. When I got bad ones, which I did quite often later on, my parents said they Always Knew. You will gather from this that I am Not The Clever One in my family. The picture above (hat-tip Martha) shows me in my 20s doing what I typically did then. Anyway, a few months ago my daughter posted quite a lot of old family pictures on her Facebook page, and in almost all of them I am reading a book. Some of the ones without me in them have a book on a table, which I know I was reading on the day the picture was taken. But I cannot remember those books, although I know I read them. So since I looked at that album of photos I have been keeping a reading notebook. It is one of these:
Moleskine. I use them all the time My reading one is a red hard-cover plain page one my son gave me for Christmas (my family have now worked out that a notebook, Moleskine for preference but any will do, is a present which will always make me happy) and I write down, not so much what I think of what I am reading, but what is happening in it, what the writer is doing or trying to do, and I quote from it, with page numbers. Sometimes I post reviews of books I have read, as regular readers of this blog will know. If I didn't have to go to work I would do a lot more of this. If I don't have my reading notebook with me I write on my iPad, whose Notes app is rather handy (my iPad is always with me)
and then post straight from there. I wish I had done all this (the paper notebook part anyway) when I was younger. At home my reading and writing place is the corner of the kitchen, and sometimes I go in there and look at my notebooks and a sigh of pure happiness escapes me. Anyway. Where was I? Ah yes, the process of reading. There has been a revolution - we can read on e-books now - but the process of reading stays the same as it has always been. I will post another time about e-reading: I am an early adopter of technology and have had a Sony book reader for quite a long time now, it looks like this (below left). I don't read much on the iPad because our non-globalised
markets mean I have to have iBooks.fr - I do read French but there is almost nothing in English there, so not much I want. I read newspapers on the iPad, especially The Times (I am now behind the Murdoch Paywall of Death), which is excellent. W.H. Smith inform me that I can no longer purchase e-reading from them, as they now insist on a UK billing address for purchases. Dingbats. The Frankfurt Book Fair is currently in progress, and despite the saccharine reporting and thinly disguised product pitches that pass for coverage of that event, it seems that the publishing world is imploding. Nobody knows how much to charge for e-books, given that most of the cost of a book is in the printing and distribution. A clue: a lot less than now. None of the publishers, despite their hype, knows what to think. Ha ha ha. So they are all trying to kill each other. Ha ha ha. When I first got my book reader something over two years ago I changed my attitude to the paper books I possess. I got rid of some, and will get rid of more, probably, but I know which writers I love and will always read, and hope there will be more (the subject of a later post I expect) and have them mostly in hardback, and before I die will have them all in hardback I hope and believe. Paperback books may die off as a result. Good (probably). My first idea for e-book reading: wouldn't it be nice to be able to download a poem for about 50p?