There is a pile of books on my bedside table, taunting me. Kids by Patti Smith, some Kerouac, Bukowski. I told Champagne Gillian I needed something to read and, Gillian being Gillian, she came through with some great titles by some iconic talents. I can’t bring myself to read any of them. They’re all way too cool for me.
Instead I am re-reading Scarlett – the sequel to Gone With The Wind. I read it when I was about 20 and loved it. Now I’m reading it again. It’s the literary equivalent to eating a giant bowl of porridge with loads of milk and sugar. Don’t get me wrong – it’s well written and has some interesting historical observations – but it’s daggy melodrama, pure and simple. And I love it.
I know it’s incredibly de rigueur to exclaim loudly to all who will listen that having children has made no impact on your lifestyle whatsoever and that nappy brain is a fallacy, but having kids has made me – well, if not stupid, then just too stuffed to make any kind of effort when it comes to reading.
Reading for me happens at the end of the day, when I crawl into my nice comfortable bed next to my warm-footed husband. I turn on my bedside lamp and I read for the 10 minutes or so I am capable of before I fall into a catatonic state that lasts until someone screams down the hall loud enough to yoink me from my slumber.
I’m not capable of analytical thinking at this time of the day. Nor do I want to think about narrative impulses or the use of metaphor or motifs. I just want a cracking story with plenty of verbs that moves along at a nice pace and follows a story arc I can rely on.
As a writer, especially, I feel a bit of a lamo. But I’m sure I’ll recover.
In the meantime, I have resolved to work my way through the 40 trashy novels you must read before you die. I have already read four, so have only 36 to go. By then, hopefully I’ll be back to being – you know – kind of smart and with an attention span that…look, something shiny!
Have you read more than four on that list? Which ones should I read/avoid?