I have not posted for a couple of weeks – let’s call it life getting in the way, the usual thing. I did have a few days away in the Netherlands during that time, however, so I certainly cannot complain. We go there every year, to Zeeland, and I have often posted on here about my trips. This time, my husband and I went, for the first time ever, without our kids, who were all elsewhere. On an impulse we drove all the way from Zeeland in the south to Den Haag (about 150km north) to visit the city’s renowned art gallery, the Kunstmuseum. They hold a large collection of work by an artist my husband was keen to see, but unfortunately none of it was on display! It is an amazing place – an Art Deco building, rather severe-looking on the outside, but fantastic on the inside with a large glass-roofed central atrium (below) and galleries around the edges and magnificent tiling work. There were displays of paintings, sculpture, ceramics and textiles and works were set out in a really innovative way, juxtaposing old and new to illustrate contrasts as well as showing the traditional techniques underpinning even the most modern pieces. We spent the entire day there and did none of the other things we’d planned for our day in the city!
My reading has been really up and down this last few weeks too. After the announcement of the Booker prize shortlist, I set about working through all six books, as I have done every year for a while now. I managed four and a half, I think, but was struggling with the book that in fact won, The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka. I am sorry to say that I STILL have not finished it! I am just not finding it is drawing me in and I am struggling to care about any of the characters. Perhaps one day I will get around to reviewing it on here…!
The non-fiction challenge I set myself at the start of the year (one non-fiction title a month) has completely gone out of the window! Many of the books I have chosen to date have simply been too lengthy to get through in a month and I am finding with non-fiction that I need to read it with more attention because it generally does not draw you into its world engaging all the senses, in the way that fiction does. My current non-fiction of choice is Margaret Atwood’s Burning Questions, which I have been dipping in and out for weeks (months?). As with everything the great lady touches it IS brilliant, and witty, and clever, and informative, but I am reading it with the author’s Canadian drawl in my ear. So it’s slow.
By contrast, the audiobook I am listening to at the moment (my book club’s choice) is classic Haruki Murakami 1Q84. It is outstanding. I am devouring it. But it’s 45 hours of listening time, three thick volumes’ worth. When listening to it I find I am completely drawn into its peculiar world and Murakami’s writing is just delectable. But it is long.
I was talking to my daughter yesterday. She started university this autumn and is finding that this last week or so has got very challenging, that the workload has stepped up suddenly (week five is the worst, apparently). She was telling me that she does not feel very productive, even though she seems to be spending hours working. I feel a bit like that with my reading right now. Reading of course is a pleasure and a joy in itself and one should not feel pressure to finish, or to tick a book off the list, particularly where slower-paced reading is required to get the very best out of it. But when you review a lot of books, you get used to zipping through them, and it can feel ‘unproductive’ when you find yourself wading through very long books, or less fulfilling books.
I am reaching the end of both the Booker prize winning book and the Murakami so I hope to have something to review in the next week!
Do you ever find yourself in a reading rut? I would love to hear your thoughts.
2 thoughts on “On the ebb and flow of reading”
I definitely get times when I feel a bit lazy with my reading and only want shortish books that don’t involve too much thought. That’s often when. I reread books. It doesn’t usually last for long though.
I really enjoyed Burning Questions but it did take me ages as I kept forgetting about it
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Once I’ve completed this little batch I will definitely be looking for some shorter works! Burning Questions is brilliant. But there is just so much of it! Confirmation, if any were needed, that Margaret Atwood is both brilliant and prolific.
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