So where is my copy of…?

I really need to start blogging in the morning before work, or while at work (ha, I wish) because I think there is a black hole that just swallows up my evenings. I’d like to think that all this time will somehow return to me at a later date through the black hole but it’s highly doubtful. I’m not even sure what I’m doing in the evening because it is not my usual pursuit of reading.

Recently I have, however, been pondering the great universal question of how to organise my bookshelf, this may seem inconsequential to some but for me it is a fundamental to my existence. I’m beginning to think that if every book has a place then the answers to life’s questions are always easily found. Who cares if scientists have found the Higgs boson (I do really) but what is the importance of the fundamental question of the universe when compared to where do I put the Iliad: Poetry, history or classic? And Artemis Fowl: young lit, fantasy, adventure or crime?

Questions like how many categories to have, become insurmountable decisions. Too many and there is little point in having them; too few and there is little help in finding the book you want. How then do you organise the books within a category, alphabetically or by author? By Author, okay but what if you can’t remember the author’s name? You could go by the title of the book but what if you are in search of something else but the author that you know is somewhere but you just can’t remember where. Then there is the trusted order by favouritism or how much a book is liked but well that leaves books long forgotten in some obscure part of the book shelf in an uncomfortable out if reach place.

Which leads to the most difficult question, where do you place each category? Which categories need to be the most easily accessed and what do you do if by some unfortunate happening you favourite book is in a category in an awkward place? What books an ever be afforded to be placed in an inaccessible place? And finally how important is chronology? I struggle with authors names let alone when a book was written and I may not have even brought the books in the order of release if I discovering a new writer.

So here’s my theory, when I have a sprawling library I will have multiple copies, and I will have every book and everything in the universe mapped, ordered and categorised, I’ll be happy and have the answer to everything.

Great Gatsby

I have a list of books in my head that I’m desperate to read or think that I should read. On the list is the Great Gatsby which I finished about a week ago. It has taken me a while to figure out what I thought and feel about the novel. It was never going to measure up to the magnitude I had built it up to. I suppose that will always be a problem when you pick up a novel that is so renowned, by an author as admired as F. Scott Fitzgerald. Words and phrases such as ‘classic’ and ‘loved by everyone’ will always mar you opinion for better or worse before you even read the first line.

I felt that the novel was dull, like 1984 I felt nothing really happened for a long time. I felt no emotional investment; I didn’t care for Nick, who did nothing but watch the world he happily inhabited with cynicism, I didn’t care for Daisy and after the intrigue of waiting for the infamous Gatsby to appear on the written page I no longer cared for Jay. And I was waiting, always waiting; waiting for Fitzgerald to say something, less obvious than, look at the moral decay of our time, look at the decay of the American dream. I wanted him say something subtle, through all the negative, all the putrid and festering commotion, something positive. I wanted there to be an understated acknowledgment that there was still beauty in life, however much the good hearts and dreams are doomed to die and leave little mark on a glittering materialistic world. There are many things I could say about the novel but I could never say it wasn’t beautiful, I kept reading because it was aesthetically so pleasing.

This carefully crafted piece of art is at heart a thwarted love story of star-crossed lovers and while keeping to the traditional separation devices of money and status, the fact the lovers aren’t perfect makes them easier to relate to. Romantic idolised lovers are untouchable; however, it is their flaws that make Daisy and Gatsby interesting. It is the flaws in the lovers and in the wealthy that leads to their destruction, the society and morals around them are decaying. Both of these verge on being romanticised but are dragged back to represent the dark dangerous world that was developing in the 1920’s. It is the disillusionment that Fitzgerald presents to the reader that is so striking, the 1920s is a world presented full of greed and the pursuit of pleasure that is an all top accurate illustration of our current world, a world despite it rotten core will remain outwardly stunning.

Fitzgerald speaks to the readers fears that good hearts like Gatsby’s seem doomed to die but isn’t that just because we remember? No one will remember Tom, Daisy or Jordan but we will always recall the one who is great long after they are gone, believing they left too early. It is the fear that our dreams will die that speaks so well to the reader, no one wants to believe that the American or Gatsby’s dream will die or worse, in its essence is untouchable. Fitzgerald does raise the question, do we idealise and perfect dreams to a point that renders them unattainable and effectively doom them to die in a materialist world?

Gatsby may have been trapped in the past by status and background but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t capable of recreation. Yes I wish Gatsby wasn’t chasing a past summer but who is to say he wouldn’t create a better summer when he caught it? What I love about Gatsby is that he believes in the green light despite what he has seen in war and how cynical the world has made him. He still believes in his dream of the better world he wants to create. The belief that people will choose to dream of something better in a dark world is wonderful and one I believe in whole heartedly.

So yeah, I still think it was dull and there were things I didn’t like about The Great Gatsbybut I doubt that is what I’m going to talk about when someone asks me if I’ve read the book.

The cover of the first edition of The Great Ga...

The Hunger Games

 

Cover of "The Hunger Games"

So I haven't read this yet.............

So this will probably only serve to demonstrate that I live in the UK and that I’m not a teenager anymore (apparently twenteen is okay but twenteenone is too much of a mouth full to be tolerated and people just give me a look of pity when I use the phase) but I haven’t actually read The Hunger Game books. I know, I know it is a disgraceful thing to state, but it’s the truth. PLEASE DON’T HURT ME, I have so much to live for, for example actually reading The Hunger Games Trilogy.

The thing is until recently I had never heard of The Hunger Games, not even a little peep, then suddenly it sort of exploded everywhere, it seems to have appendages scattered all over the place, blogs, vlogs, newspapers, magazines, posters and the television. I don’t even watch TV anymore so if I know it’s there I can’t imagine what it is like for regular viewers.  This is by no means a terrible thing, because you know what?? Colour me intrigued, what the hell have I been missing??

It isn’t just me who has been missing it, none of my friends (bear in mind most my friends are students of literature) have read it either. It just seems to have missed most of the UK, which is really disappointing considering we got Twilight, I mean really if you are going to put us through the agony of Twilight USA at least give us a light at the end of the tunnel. I know I’m not exactly its target audience but one of my favourite books is Artemis Fowl and that is aimed at 12 year old boys so I think I can manage The Hunger Games.  All I’ve got from posting the question on Facebook “So anyone actually read the Hunger Games?” is ridicule from my American friends for missing out on something great, obliviousness from my UK friends and surprise that it’s a book as well as a film and the general consensus that it’s better than Twilight.

Here are my questions: Is the writing decent?? Has it got a better idea then Romeo and Juliet with Vampires?? Is it interesting or am I going to feel like I’m wading through treacle?? Are the characters engaging and am I going to care about their plight?? Is it really as good a social commentary as everyone suggests?? Can I put it by H.G, Wells collection of dystopian literature?? And is it worth reading beyond the reason of seeing what all the fuss is about??

I just want to know if it will be good, that’s all?? Not that I don’t read a lot of rubbish but with all the hype I don’t want to end up despairing at the worlds taste in literature. I’ll be honest I’ll probably read it anyway I just want to know if I’m going to enjoy it or am I going to finish it and hate the world, feeling it was a really disappointing lover that lied to me about how great their performance was going to be.

It’s a Bookworm Thing

The book lovers chair

The book lovers chair

I am having a bad week, the Monday Blues stuck around and this week has just not gone my way or even been remotely tolerable. The universe seems to have taken offence to me. I’m currently in last minute negotiations for an improvement on next week, but trying to get the universe in a dialogue is like getting a child to sit still. Neither wants to be unmoving and must be everywhere at once spouting outrageous demands that if refused will result in tantrums. I am, however, hopeful.

Sweety Shop

Sweety Shop

My bad week has given me a chance to indulge my weakness and great passion, the written word. I really don’t need an excuse to read an obscene amount of books, but a bad week where all I can do to cheer myself up is to picture the next time I’ll get to pick up my book, it becomes the few minutes of sunshine in an otherwise very bleak day. A beautifully written book can make everything better, it can make you feel an immeasurable amount of emotions and make you believe you can take on the world. It can do the wonderful thing of filling you with a golden glow from your head to your toes. As for a not so beautifully written book, well that can just amuse you for a couple of hours. Buying a new book is like… being in a sweet shop and they have new stock. The old trusted tastes are still there to be procured but there are so many new ones to try, to experiment with, to be enjoyed.

Classics

Classics

You can open a book and be taken anywhere, to the far reaches of the globe or a completely different world. A good book has the ability to whisk you away to improbable places, away from your world to anywhere you and the author cares to dream of. Then there are the books that take you home and are so familiar they comfort you. It doesn’t matter how far beyond your own knowledge a book maybe, a good one, when you pick it up makes you feel, smell and hear everything. You are there with the author and character, gone from your seat to somewhere special; even if it is just someone else’s day to day life. Some books reflect reality, time and culture; they are an extraordinary gateway to experiences and societies outside your own. Books stand as a documentation of a way of life that has the potential to be sadly lost, preserving a world safely in black ink within bound pages.

They have to possibility to bring masses of people together, to unite and on occasions reshape literature, for example in the last ten years children’s novels has been completely revolutionised. They can touch a diverse range of people and connect them with one enjoyment. Literatures capability to expand a person’s belief of what is possible is fantastic, people often choose to translate the endless possibilities of books over into their lives and worlds.

Literature, books and novels change people lives, my own has been completely redirected by the written word and I believe there is no greater force. They can change a person, their ideas, attitudes and thinking, changing an outlook can make a person or break them. The written word has a wonderful potential to inspire a person or movement and it can communicate an idea in a few symbols. The written word is pleasurable, awesome and life changing. Or so this bookworm thinks.

 

Posting Literature thingys here all week!!

Romantic New Year.

New Year’s eve is like every other night; there is no pause in the march of the universe, no breathless moment of silence among created things that the passage of another twelve months may be noted; and yet no man has quite the same thoughts this evening that come with the coming of darkness on other nights.  ~Hamilton Wright Mabie

I should state, before I start, I mean romantic in a fanciful and unrealistic sense rather than romantic mushy lovey dovey way. My new year has been giving me the giggles, it really was completely improbable and extravagant, and all in all if I had read it in a book I would have thought it completely fantastical. Usually, in my life the whole fictional, imaginative and unreal escapes me unless I choose to see it or put it there, which absurdly I have become quite competent at. This New Year’s eve, however, some omnipotent being saw fit to employ themselves in writing a chapter for me.Walking

It started off at lunch with sangria and some old friends; we bar hopped in Birmingham, demanding our chosen beverage in every bar and to our astonishment we were accommodated. We had chosen a ludicrous drink to enjoy, who in their right mine asks for Sangria in winter or for that matter on New Year’s Eve? Apparently my author thought that a summer drink at New Years would be important. Perhaps this year the great love of my life will buy me sangria and the flood of happy memories will mean I hold my tongue long enough for him not to flee with a crushed ego. I had to leave early, to dash home for a change of wardrobe that I didn’t really have time for and pack a bag and do my makeup. Of course, here the writer turned me into a superwoman who could do a thousand things at once; I was barely even late and did it so charmingly I even despised myself as the main character for being so cool and collected about it.

By 8 pm we were in a town in the middle of nowhere, I should say a tiny town of no importance other than a bridge (admittedly over a very large river) my only purpose in being there were my friends. The author, however, saw this town as a menagerie of colourful characters (mostly farmers) and some family member thrown in to add a little drama to my desperate attempt to appear sober. I engaged in conversations in the beer gardens (my author fixed unseasonable mild weather) about books, art and all my favourite things; everyone was so obliging and whimsical I wondered where all these fabulous people had been hiding their wit all year!Fireworks

At midnight a thousand people spilled out into the main high street to count down to midnight beneath a clock that didn’t work. Why? Why would the council not fix the clock after years and years of this tradition taking place? Here the author was just being clever, knowing that so few of us have a chance to count down the year twice and to get two New Year Kisses! I was just definitely being spoilt. All around our rag tag of 20 or so, people were counting and cheering at different times, it was hysterical, it was wonderful. The highlight of the year thus far? Hugging a policeman on duty and wishing him a good new year. Only a writer could save me from getting arrested, by walking me up to the only good natured copper on the beat.

I tumbled into bed at 4 am; after lolloping home holding tightly on to my brave friends all of us thinking the world would spin so fast we would fall off it. I reassured a friend that even if he believed he had achieved nothing in 6 years, he had actually accomplished much in the way of friendships, with the clarity that only a writer who has spent hours perfecting the prose could. I also think my author is one for an idealistic tableau as I went to sleep with the sound of birds and woke up to the sound of church bells.

Drink responsibly

Drink responsibly.......

My author, did not see fit to relieve me of feeling rough but was more charitable with my hangover than that of my supporting characters who could barely function. New Year’s day was spent playing board games that had not seen the light of day in 10 years. We gathered around a large table with friends and family, consuming more alcohol than the previous night should have allowed with even better conversation than should have been present.

In my head I keep questioning whether it all really happened and if someone is about to write the next chapter can I fast talk them in to making me lose weight,or that I just don’t mind the way I way I look in photos. Oooooh and I quite like happiness but I suppose I could resolve to do that on my own but I feel if my life has become a novel it would be  much less demanding and I would be guarantee a happy ending, or at least a year that matched my New Year that felt to me like my birthday, Christmas and a summer holiday all in one.

By the way Happy New Year!!