I have taken an unnecessarily long hiatus from writing on my beloved blog, but in my time away I have been consuming books like a mad woman. My mind has been jam packed with exciting new stories. Stories so diverse and wonderful that I can’t stop either recommending them to friends, or searching into google to discover interesting facts on Wikipedia. All the better to be writing with. As much as I love to write about books, sometimes just reading them is enough for a while. Wouldn’t the world be a happier place if we had more time in our busy schedules to read books and drink tea? Now there’s a beautiful thought.
The last two books I have devoured I made sure I treated them in a very careful and cautious way. I was very wary of how I handled their beautiful paperback covers, averting my eyes whenever I held them. I’m making it sound like I was ignoring my novels, but dear reader it was quite the opposite. I was treating them like a sacred objects and worshipping the secrets hidden inside their delicate pages. Or in other words, I decided I wasn’t going to reading the blurb… (Queue dramatic music)
Quite recently I undertook a reading challenge by involving myself with “a blind date with a book.” The blind date takes the expression “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” and runs laps with it all over Melbourne. The book I purchased was wrapped up and only had three descriptive words on the front. I had no idea of the book I was purchasing and it both excited and terrified me. Question raced through my mind such as “what if I don’t like it?” and “how will my bank account feel about this?” It turned out to be a very sweet experience and enriched my reading experience.
Ever since my blind date with a book, I have been chasing that rush of mystery and wonder from my books. So I decided to steer away from the blurb of the next two books I read. I just can’t resist the appeal of a reading challenge. I promised myself that I would not read any reviews or indulge in my very unhealthy obsession with Wikipedia searches (seriously, it is my first point of call.) These latest book reads of mine were going to remain so mysterious that even my main man Sherlock Holmes couldn’t solve it. (Well he probably could with the help of Watson)
To assist with my reading challenge, I enlisted the help of my crafted ‘To be read jar’ pictured above. It has all the names of literary gems I hope to find the time in my busy life to read. I pulled the novel ‘Magonia’ written by Maria Dhavana Headley from my jar. The reason I purchased this book because I saw the beautiful cover plastered all over social media. The cover captivated me and compelled me to buy it so I could learn what happened in the story. Also the title made me think of Magnum ice-cream and I’m always concerned with the desires of my stomach. (Sad, but very true.) ‘Magonia’ sat staring a me on my book shelf for six weeks before I picked it up. And wow, the story is not in the least bit what I thought. This in itself was marvellous and added to the delight of avoiding the blurb and reviews.
My second book choice was entirely different as it is on the booklist I am teaching for school: Kazuo Ishiguro’s ‘Never Le Me Go’ written in 2005. Thus, it was a non-negotiable read. If I have ever had to read a book for both studying and teaching purposes, I hit up google and get a full debrief about what the story is about. I need themes, characters, ideas and settings. I analyse the story so much that I already write an essay in my head and assigned myself a grade. But this time, I avoided the blurb. I stayed away from goodreads and most certainly did not type ‘Never let me go’ into google. And instead, I just read.
The weirdest thing was, I found myself more involved with the story without the added pressure of analysis. I was able to really connect to the story on an emotional level and I still feel the goose bumps writing this paragraph The story has really haunted me. I am so excited to teach it, but by avoiding the pressure of becoming an expert n the story, I just let myself read. I started reading at 10.00am in the morning and with short breaks in between I finished the story by 6.00pm at night. It was an incredible experience. The very next day I watched the film version with Carey Mulligan and Andrew Garfield which I highly recommend. Even though the film can never truly capture the beauty of a good book, I really enjoyed the interpretation.
Just as I tried to keep the mystery alive when reading ‘Magonia’ and ‘Never Let Me Go’, I don’t want to tell you anything about the two books I have chosen. Why spoil all the mysteries I have discovered when you could hunt them down yourself? It would be a much more enjoyable experience for you. Instead, I urge to pick up a title that you have no idea about. It creates a different atmosphere when you sit down to explore it and extremely refreshing to pull back from reading books because you have heard so much about the story. And I promise dear reader when you have finished, you have my permission to google the story for hours on end to discover what the rest of the world thinks about it… it’s much more satisfying.
Miss Book Dependent xo