you have a book by an author you love so you know you’ll love the book and then when you read the book you love it and keep stopping to say silly things like ‘Oh my god I love this book!’ or ‘Author-name you are a genius’. I love it. You don’t say? Yeah. I say.
Last time I had this experience I was reading The Boy Book by E. Lockhart, which obviously I was going to love as I adored The Boyfriend List. I am having it again with Nobody’s Girl by Sarra Manning. I swear she just keeps getting better and better! Every new book is just so much more detailed and powerful than the ones before, although of course those still remain brilliant and stand up to being re-read afterwards. I’m only on chapter five, but I can recognise improvement right from the start.
I always read with my ‘writing hat’ on. Some writers complain that learning the craft of writing can spoil the pleasure of reading unless you make a deliberate effort not to think like a writer whilst you’re reading just for fun. This has not been my experience so far. Some advocate reading each book twice, once as a ‘reader’, and once as a ‘writer’, but my critical faculties are always on and usually at maximum power when I’m reading a book. I think this at least partly comes from having studied cultural theory, I always say that beginning to learn theory was like discovering that I live in the Matrix. I look at everything through that lens I developed as an undergraduate.
Yes, it involves thinking a lot. Yes, I can no longer bring myself to watch crap films in which a beautiful woman falls in love with some stupid man after various tedious slapstick things have happened. But I get to experience a added level of pleasure when I read or watch something that has been done right. I also admire nice plot twists, detailed characterisation, great dialogue – oh, how I love dialogue! I see how they did that, and I love it! I get especially excited when one of the things I particularly love to see in teen fiction turns up at the start of a book, because there is almost no way that it can fail to be good with one of these things in it. I first made up this list when talking to one of my postgraduate tutors about why I love teen fiction, and I included it in the commentary for my MA portfolio. I’ve added to it since, so now along with such things as ‘intelligent, critical narrators’, and ‘teenagers with slightly-more-glamourous-than-mine lives’, I have listed ‘quirky families’ and ‘characters with hobbies’. One day I’ll have to make a post about this list.
But today I am going to type up some reviews for Body Image and Self Perception Month, and then carry on with Nobody’s Girl. I am so excited! When I have read Nobody’s Girl I will be well prepared for the Chicklish birthday event having read every book by Sarra Manning and Simmone Howell and one of Luisa Plaja’s. Unfortunately my local library does not have Della Says: OMG! by Keris Stainton and I won’t have a chance to get it before Monday, but still, this is amazing, as most of the time when I go to see authors speak I haven’t actually read any of their books!
I haven’t posted anything that wasn’t strictly a review on this blog for ages. How did I do?