Monday, September 17, 2012

Speaking of books...

I'm curious - does anyone else have a problem with transitions between books?

I find the time between finishing one book and beginning another frustrating and unsettling. I can't decide what to read next. It's not for lack of choice. My kindle is loaded and my chair-side (I'm not sure what to call it but it is home to my 'books to be read' pile) is overflowing. 

Rather the problem is what to choose - making the 'right' choice. Will I be engaged? Will I be moved?  Will I want to read on?  Will it be 'worth' the investment in time and effort. So much to choose from; such a gamble. I'm not keen on starting a book, not liking what I find and ditching it. When I start a book I want to persevere - and I want to read thoroughly, not skim the surface. So the choice is important - loaded, freighted - made even more difficult when I have especially loved a book and fear that nothing could compare...

So, in the time since my return from Europe I've filled my (very limited) reading time with newspapers and back issues of the Listener, putting off the decision. But I think I am gravitating towards Maureen Birchfield's Looking for answers: A life of Elsie Locke. Because it is sitting, invitingly, at the top of my chair-side pile. And because I have admired Elsie Locke all my life for her authorship and her activism.

I'll let you know if I do and what I think :-)


  1. I always spend a week or two mourning the fact that I have finished a much-loved story. It is a lovely feeling to escape into a brilliant book. I have my nose stuck in knitting books at the moment. One sock finished another soon to be started :)

  2. 'Mourning' is a good word.

    Somewhere I think I have mum's old knitting patterns...

  3. It is a most significant moment in one's reading life! But, oh no, I LOVE that time of standing in front of the bookshelf deciding which book to read next---a time full of literary possibility. That is, I love it AFTER I get over mourning the end of the last book :-), which I did recently when I finished Kate Morton's The Hidden Garden, set partially in Australia.

    Funny you should mention this bookish phenomenon. There is a whole chapter in my manuscript about one of the characters and her quirky method of choosing what next to read!

  4. Much to comment on in this post---I, too, prefer to read slowly for the pleasure of savoring the language-- also rarely give up on a book I don't love. Wonder why we feel so compelled to stick with a less-liked story when there are good ones waiting. "So many books, so little time."

  5. I would have to echo Debs comment .. when do you get the time to read for pleasure ?? :)

  6. Ah, I need to shift my approach to choosing - 'literary possibility' - I so like that phrase :-) I will look out for Kate Morton.

    I wonder too PG. But somehow, when I am really enjoying a book, it makes a space. A bit like surfing and catching a wave (though I've never surfed!).

    Mind you the time spent here would once have been reading time...

  7. Related to our conversations here - look what I just found on fb...

    “I learned to dream through reading, learned to create dreams through writing, and learned to develop dreamers through teaching.” ― author Sharon M. Draper

    This must describe you Deb :-)

  8. PS I don't have children/grandchildren, 3 jobs, long commutes etc etc. :-O

  9. I had considered getting a reading book (reads to you whilst driving etc) But I do like to listen to music and catch up with whats happening round the country and world so radio gets a lot of use. The sorts of reading I am enjoying are related to learning from others about farming and gardening etc. Plums are on the current agenda :)

  10. Do let us know if you get onto "Looking for Answers". Elsie was an inspiration.
    We used to visit her and Jock when I was a kid. Dad met her through the CND. Then, in the early 90s when I lived in the central city, we'd often meet her walking down Armagh St to the Post Office.
    Wikipedia sez: 'Robert Muldoon once described the Lockes as the most "notorious Communist family in New Zealand"' There was a massive SIS file on Elsie. The notion that this fine NZer and children's author was considered a great threat to the nation has indelibly marked the SIS as chumps in my book :)

  11. I like radio too PG Why especially plums??

    Ah, you are lucky Rob, to have known Elsie and Jack. Perhaps a beefy SIS file should be regarded as a source of pride!!

  12. Well, now I must go in search of Elsie Locke! Don't know her, but sounds like that's my loss.

    PG, in fact, book on tape in car is how I took in Kate Morton's long book, lulled by Caroline Lee's gorgeous narration---beautiful voice and accent---I think from Australia. Could have listened to her all day. Did not want story to end-- pleasurable reading---nothing political or life altering, but intriguing family mysteries, lovely turns of phrase, and stellar character development. Missed a couple of turns lost in the story.

    And yes Jane! Blogging time is reading time! But both are so pleasurable. Long commutes are good listening time, though, if you don't mind missing the news for the two weeks time it takes to listen to a whole book in the car, and the risk of unsafe driving! Always a push/pull to fit everything in. It's my constant struggle.

    I'm humbled to be likened to that beautiful quote, btw. True or not, humbled:-) I would apply it back to you!

  13. Elsie wrote very much about NZ Deb. I don't think she would be well known overseas. Most Christchurch residents of my generation would know 'The Runaway Settlers' which is set in our (Rob's and my) part of the world - Governors Bay. I will see if I can find a copy for you :-)