Wednesday, 26 February 2020

Beating the block

A book for every season...

I sound a little bit like a broken record as I keep complaining of reader's block - I do remind myself just how lucky I am that I can still read and that not finding something to sink into is a minor problem.

Deep down I know all of this but it is still frustrating to find yourself stuck at home due to bad weather and not knowing what to read.

I've decided to try proper bibliotherapy to get over this - I think of a topic that I think will take my fancy and then look it up in The Novel Cure! The most useful part so far has been the top 10s at the back of the book and if I am totally honest I've actually spent more time reading this than anything from it but hey - it all counts as reading right?

I am asked by friends if I can think of books about different topics for children of various ages. I've now been out of the frontline of children's books for a decade and while I try to stay current I am sometimes stumped but no longer...there is a Story Cure - an A-Z of books to keep kids happy. healthy and wise and thus my reading for this weekend (yet another windy one) is sorted!

Look out Kentishbookboy - lists of new books will be coming your way very soon!

Monday, 17 February 2020

Reprints and discoveries

Random thoughts about books.

My reading tastes (as well as being eclectic) seem to swerve from books read well in advance of publication to books that are well over 60 years old and both of these can be a problematic.

The books I read in advance often can't be talked about at the time I read them, and by the time they are published I've often forgotten many of the discussion points and no one wants to read a blog full of 'I love this book' with no more depth than that.

The older books are also problematic in that they aren't always easy to find, reasonably priced or read by enough people to discuss them!

The last point I am getting around by loaning some of the books I have to a colleague - it has been a bit hit or miss but it is so much fun to talk about these books with someone else that I'll forgive her for not liking one of my favourites.

The growth in smaller publishers who specialise in bringing former classics back in to print is also helping with the availability issues too.

Back in 2016 I read the wonderful Mrs Tim of the Regiment by D E Stevenson. At this point I knew that there were more books in the series and that I really wanted to read them. However they all came with an exorbitant price tag. Time passed and I'd stopped looking for cheaper copies of these books when I came across the wonderful Furrowed Middle Brow blog which is dedicated to lesser known (female) authors from the first half of the 20th Century.

This site has been very dangerous for my 'to-be-read pile' as there are so many books talked about, and handily categorised in to lists so I can really pick from my favourite genres. The bigger news however is that along with researching and reviewing books they are also reprinting books - including the wonderful Mrs Tim series!

I'm even luckier in that my colleagues in the library service also saw these books and ordered them and so I've spent the last two stormy weekends happily rediscovering the world of Mrs Tim and her friends. I can't explain what draws me to these books, they are predictable (and at times almost cringeworthy) but I do love the time I spend in this world. I have just one left to read now and I am trying to decide whether to save this last book for a special occasion or whether just to dive straight in.