Atwood

Peonies

Margaret Atwood is currently my favourite author. I really enjoy her emotive, detailed, fluid writing style and find myself interested in her novels whatever the subject. I have read
‘Alias Grace’, ‘The Handmaiden’s Tale’ and am currently embroiled with ‘The Blind Assassin’.

‘Alias Grace’ was my gateway to Atwood as I generally sway towards historical fiction when choosing books. I read it a few years ago and mostly remember how powerful her descriptions were of landscapes and nature. I still have a very clear image of the main house and the female prison driveway described in her book. Also I remember many references to Peonies which in hind-sight seems to be a recurring theme in her novels.

‘The Handmaiden’s Tale’ was a very striking read. I borrowed it from my mum on holiday and had no idea of its awards or fame, which definitely improved the experience. I was utterly transfixed by this book and remember feeling physically uncomfortable, disgusted and anxious while reading it. The story had so much resonance with today’s society but also the ordeal of the main character was put across so expertly as to affect the reader completely. The novel was clearly written with deliberation and skill and I felt every sentence had been crafted but not overly contrived. I understand now why it is part of schools reading lists.

My first book review will be for ‘The Blind Assassin’…I haven’t thought about how to structure it yet. One of the main goals of this blog is to improve my writing style so perhaps I should research and structure my reviews, with guiding questions and topics to discuss. On the other hand an overly planned review will run the risk of being stale, boring and repetitive. Let’s wait and see!

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Reading Challenge

 

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Reading Challenge

I stumbled upon this link a few weeks ago and have been contemplating taking on the challenge! I loved watching the Gilmore Girls with my sister and remember feeling connected to Rory because of her hunger to read. I have the talent (?) of becoming totally absorbed in a novel, to the point where I will not notice my surroundings, even if someone is right next to me calling my name! I used to read a lot more and had periods of devouring one or more books a day. There was a time in my late teens when I would keep a list of books and films…I would try to read one good book then one ‘trashy’ novel so that I didn’t get bogged down with too many classics or just fill my head with the latest soppy romance or a predictable crime saga. I enjoyed this rhythm of reading and perhaps that can be my continued challenge.

Today I googled reading challenge and so many alternatives popped up…

good reads

Telegraph’s 110 best books

TED talks list

Oxford: writers inspire 

I am still undecided as to whether I will actively pursue a reading goal. It might improve this blog if there was an actual project involved but it seems a little misguided to read with the aim of completing a list and not in an attempt to enjoy, understand and learn something from the content.

I am currently reading Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Blind Assassin’ and enjoying it. The problem I am having with this book is piecing together the family connections…I am sure if I had read the first 100-200 pages consecutively there would be no problem. Unfortunately I was frequently distracted by daily life and it has taken me at least a month to get to page 160. I am tempted to start again!

Hopefully my next post will be a little more decisive and by that point I will have some idea of what I want to read.

Neither rowing nor reading

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Yesterday I watched an interesting documentary called Missrepresentation about many things including misrepresentation in the media. The film had multiple messages about the issues in todays society but one of the main things I took away from it was that I watch far too much television! Part of the fuel for starting this blog and reading for pleasure more often.

I had already heard most of the arguments in the film and was aware of the changes it advocated which I fully support. The documentary was well crafted and did not only focus on women’s rights or their place in society but also addressed the burden society places on young males. This seems to me to be the less well known topic and is often over-looked by social activists. Possibly because the task of changing how society expects men to behave seems so enormous, largely due as a result of the industries which perpetuate these male stereotypes prominence and influence.

New beginnings

“Rowing provided a place to go, a community where people cared about what I did and what I achieved.”
Nancy Greene

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”
C.S. Lewis

Probably the two loves of my life so far are reading and rowing. Hopefully they will help me get over the biggest trial of my life…writing.

There are many reasons for starting this blog and unfortunately they are entirely selfish and unsuited to the blogging medium in general. Blogging in my experience is about two-way communication, writing about something because of a love of writing or for the purpose of publicising/documenting something important.

This blog however is an experiment, a personal test, a diary and an anonymous testimony. Its goals are simple…to stay active, to encourage personal reflection and to overcome a fear of writing.

The content of this blog will inevitably evolve and hopefully improve over time but to begin with I will be focussing on the titled subjects.

I welcome any comments and feedback on this forum but as I will not be promoting the blog so do not expect many responses.