“The difference essentially between a book and a friend lies not in their greater or lesser wisdom, but in the manner in which we communicate with them, reading being the reverse of conversation, consisting as it does for each one of us in receiving the communication of another’s thoughts whole still being on our own, that is, continuing to enjoy the intellectual sway which we have in solitude and which conversation dispels instantly, and continuing to be open to inspiration, with our minds still at work hard and fruitfully on themselves.”—Marcel Proust, Days of Reading (via daysofreading)
"You’re gorgeous, you old hag, and if I could give you just one gift ever for the rest of you life it would be this. Confidence. It would be the gift of confidence. Either that or a scented candle," David Nicholls, One Day
I didn’t want to put this down. I’m at a loss for words, because all that’s coming to me are cliches. “Incredibly readable” “cannot be put down” “very real” “touching” “characters become friends” etc. I sound like I’m one of the soundbites for the cover. When I bought this book, I knew I was going to enjoy it — I just didn’t realise how much. I can’t say it’s an extraordinary feat of modern writing, because it’s not. But it is: wonderfully written, an easy read, well-drawn characters and it sucks you in. As you tumble through the years of their lives, you groan at some of their decisions and applaud others. Jonathan Coe said in his review that you put down the book feeling like you know more about these characters than your closest friends, and I see where he’s coming from.
I’m attending the Hay Festival this week. One of the events I’m going to is to hear David Nicholls speak about One Day. So I am definitely glad I enjoyed it, and I’m glad I finished it before turning up to the event. I can’t wait for the festival.
I walked into Hatchard’s a couple of days ago to look around (if you don’t know what Hatchard’s is, it’s an absolutely gorgeous bookstore that’s been in business since 1797. I love it) and when I got to the back, I was pleasantly surprised to find David Mitchell signing some books. I lingered for a second, listening to the conversation. A couple of the storekeepers, a woman I took to be his agent, and David were talking about twitter and e-books. I asked if I could get a copy signed to me, and joined in the conversation.
David did little doodles in my book :) I love it! I can’t wait to read it, too. He was very lovely, and I was kind of obnoxious with my hard rules about e-books (you guys can pretty much guess that I’m against them) and jibes at twitter. His agent squeezed my shoulders and told me that I should never change my mind, and all of them laughed along and said it was amusing to see the “youth of today” agreeing to this standpoint. We also had time to bash Stephine Meyer and the Twilight craze, though David was of the mind that if it gets kids to read, it’s not all bad [edit: I don’t agree with that, and I told him such].
It was an entirely unexpected and very happy coincidence. It was nice that there weren’t many people around, because I got to actually hang out and have a long conversation with him and the rest of the people standing around. He’s a lovely man.
“Who cannot recall, as I can, the reading they did in the holidays, which one would successively in all those hours of the day peaceful and inviolable enough to be able to afford it refuge.”—Marcel Proust, Days of Reading (via daysofreading)
Why do you buy so many books if you read so few of them? It makes me sad to see that in today's world the desire to own art is much stronger than the desire to engage in art.
Excuse me? Three things: Firstly, I do not have to defend myself against what you think. Secondly, if you want me to take this seriously, don’t ask it anonymously. Thirdly, I don’t know who the hell you are but I probably engage in art more than you do. I read about eight or nine books for pleasure per month and then I also read textbooks for university. I paint, I draw, I photograph and I write. I buy that many books because I love them. Because I will read them, because I want to support the authors who write them and the publishing industry. I don’t know what your stigma is, but screw you and anyone who thinks they can judge me.
I don’t normally get a lot of silly “hate” messages and when I do I ignore them. But I just found this absolutely ridiculous and had to respond. God, this got me so angry. I try to live a full life and a large part of my life is art, from books to paintings to photographs, and I would happily punch anyone in the face who thinks I desire to “own art” instead of “engage in [it]”. So what would make this idiot happy? If I sat at home all day and read book after book? And what do I do to achieve this? Drop out of uni? Stop seeing my friends? Stop doing anything other than ‘art’? I live a full, varied life. I am proud of myself. I have my many flaws but this is not one of them.
I never wanted to have to make this post but when people are rude and insulting I have to. I now have enough people following me that it’s become a problem, and thus I have to address it.
I will say this very clearly: Do NOT remove the “via distantheartbeats” link when you reblog. Removing it means removing my credit, and since *I* have taken the photograph, most of the time of something I own, there is absolutely no feasible reason for you to do so. What’s worse is people who remove the click-through link. It generally links back to my tumblr or to my flickr. Removing that is worse. What harm is it doing you?
I don’t want to go back to watermarking my images. It’s annoying for everyone else.
This is getting me really, really angry. These are my images. When it’s a quote, it’s annoying but not infuriating, because it’s someone else who said it (there are even some people who go as far as to remove the original author! Like removing “Oscar Wilde” from an Oscar Wilde quote. Why on earth would you do that?!). But images are mine. I put a lot of time into this blog. I do not appreciate people being inconsiderate.
If you are going to remove credit don’t fucking reblog me.
I know this may come off as a bit in-your-face, especially to those of you who credit properly. I’m sorry. Most of my followers are absolutely lovely and leave credit on. I just had to address it because it’s beginning to get to the stage where it could become out of hand.
No, amazingly enough, I do not have the free time to read almost 250 in nine months. That would be about 28 books a month. I’m a full time student, and occasionally I also like to go outside and spend time with, you know, the human people.
How do you afford buying so many books? Do you go for all bargains?
Well, yes and no. I buy secondhand a lot, because the secondhand bookstores in my town are pretty great. Most of my new books I buy from Amazon, which is almost always marked down from the cover price I’d pay at the store. The biggest thing, though, is probably that I don’t spend my money elsewhere. I’m not a big shopper. I am when I’m going shopping, but in day to day life I don’t buy a lot of clothes or shoes like a lot of my girlfriends do. I don’t drink and I don’t smoke so I don’t waste money on that front (many of my friends would probably save a couple hundred pounds a month on shit like that). I basically buy food and books and nothing else.
I counted. What you see before you is 244 books. I also shipped some off home a couple of days ago (around 30 books) that are not in this photograph. But in this photograph are approximately 30 books I bought last year, and not this year, so the number would be around the same.
I keep getting asked how many books I buy. Well, folks, here you go. This is my year’s haul from September 2009 to just a couple of days ago. Not even twelve months. I’m not normally this bad, because when I’m home my parents exercise some sort of restrain on my book-buying. But while the cat’s away, the mice will buy lots and lots of books.
I had to put them all in one place before I start boxing stuff and I just had to take a picture for you guys. For some reason in these pictures the sheer amount doesn’t come across. Or does it? Maybe it’s just me, staring at those piles, most of which are knee-high and a couple which are just past my waist. In person there just seems to be more of them.
I would not recommend following in my footsteps. I’m kind of insane, as this has finally proven to me.
“To be ourselves we must have ourselves — possess, if need be re-possess, our life-stories. We must ‘recollect’ ourselves, recollect the inner drama, the narrative, of ourselves. A man needs such a narrative, a continuous inner narrative, to maintain his identity, his self.”—Oliver Sacks
and I am tickled pink. I loved his column and am very much looking forward to reading it again. *hugs Hornby*
"It’s never easy, returning home after failing to make one’s way out in the world. When I left these pages in 2008, it was very much in the spirit of “Good-bye, nerdy losers! I’m not wasting any more time ploughing through books on your behalf! I have things to do, places to go, people to see!” Ah, well. What can you do, if the people don’t want to be seen? I have now become that pathetic modern phenomenon you might have read about, the boomerang child—the kid who struts off (typically and unwisely with middle finger raised), spends a couple of years screwing up some lowly job on a magazine or in a bank, and then comes back, tail between his legs, to reclaim his old bedroom and wonder how come his parents have more fun than he on a Saturday night."
later in the article:
"I have decided to vent my spleen by embarking on a series of books that, I hope, will be of no interest whatsoever to the readership of this magazine."
After my abysmal exam yesterday, my friends insisted I go to the picnic we’d planned and I am so glad they did. We were in the sun for about five hours and we had a great time. We were seated under that beautiful tree, and when you lay down it was like a kaleidoscope. Five hours of talk, food, dozing off in the sun, and laughter is five hours well spent.
In fact, after spending a significant portion of my afternoon outside with a large group of friends just sitting and laying down in the sun, talking and debating, laughing and eating, with a book within arm’s reach, I would say I’ve never believed this so strongly as I do right now. The weather is beautiful and I wish it could just stay put for the next few days.
Little things annoy me much more than a piano falling on my head would. For instance, the fact that I can see the tips of my eyelashes because they’re long makes me want to pull my eyelashes out.
You stop thinking. This is definitely a bad thing, as studying is supposed to happen. But you start working on autopilot until two hours later you realise you have absolutely no fucking clue what you read.
You put some music on really loudly and can barely hear it because your mind is too scattered.
You can’t read more than two pages of a book without fidgeting.
You feel constantly exhausted,
But when you actually go to bed you can’t sleep ‘cause your mind is still running.
The fact that your mind is still running does not help the studying at all.
You start crying at really random times, like a pregnant woman. For instance, when you’re walking home and realise that the crescent moon and the stars are really beautiful.
You feel compelled to set something on fire.
You don’t ignore this urge and burn paper in the sink.
You almost set off the fire alarm, which would have given you a violation and pissed off the 200 people living in your building.
You buy proper food because you think it’s healthy, but you have no time to cook any of it so you end up throwing it all out and eating junk food instead.
You go to your favourite bookstore everyday so the books can calm you down and the proprietor gives you a hug and tells you how badly her now very successful daughters did in the same university.
You watch episodes of a show you know off by heart thinking it would just be on “in the background” but you watch an entire season before you realise what you’ve done.
You shower three times in one day before realising,
because your sleeping has become so erratic you misjudge the length of a day.
When you see your clock say 11 o’clock, you get confused because the sun’s out, and normally when it says 11, it’s pm.
You invite a friend over to study, and then remember that your room is a war zone. You spend two hours of valuable study time cleaning your room.
You call people at three am, not realising what time it is. You lose friends because of this.
You realise how many hours are left to your exam and you start to hyperventilate.
You call a friend to calm you down, but you just end up making him freak out, too.
You get emotional when he says it’s nice that he’s the first person you thought to call when you got freaked out, even though you have now made him panic, too.
You make lists instead of study.
You want to hug all the followers who left you messages. Seriously, you’re all wonderful, thank you.
Are you from London? I was reading one of your latest posts and I've been wanting to plan a trip for awhile. What are some of the best places either around London, or in the U.K. in general?
I’m not from London, but I’ve been going there since I was a little girl and I’m in the city at least four times a year. It feels like home every time I touch down there.
Favourite places in London, hmm. Favourite places that are overcrowded with tourists but still enjoyable include Westminster (once you get off the bridge and walk a little), Piccadilly, the West End, Soho, Charring Cross, Camden. Favourite places personally include the Albert Memorial, Hyde Park in general, Holland Park, Bayswater, a couple of favourite restaurants, British Library, my local library, my street which I won’t name for obvious reasons, Tate Modern and National Portrait Gallery. It’s weird to list because there’s a bunch of random streets and cafes and restaurants that I like to frequent with certain friends or because of certain memories, and that’s not really transferable.
In the UK in general Brighton is gorgeous, especially in the summer, Blackpool is fun, Edinburgh is wonderful, York is nice (but not to stay long), a Highlands tour would be good, the Lake District is absolutely stunning and Kent is beautiful and quiet.
Edit: Blackpool has some great memories for me so I will defend it being fun. But, yeah, most people would probably diss it.
I know people are still answering what we’re currently reading (if you haven’t, do!) but can just had to say, pretty much all my followers have great taste in books. There was only one book on the list I would want to throw out a window and I won’t name it.
Seriously though, pat yourselves on the back. You’re all fabulous.
Edit: I should’ve known that this would turn into people trying to figure out which book it is. Oops.
I’m a bit of a flirt. I don’t mean to be, it’s just how I am. It’s not gender-specific, either. I just tend to be overly friendly and chatty and people occasionally misconstrue this as me hitting on them. I’ve had many, many conversations with people about it and back when I had a regular “gang” of friends, they were tasked with pinching me or pulling me aside if I was doing anything that to normal eyes would be seen as flirting. This meant they spent more time pulling me away from people than doing anything else.
Most girls, who know I’m straight, and who are (for the most part) straight themselves, split into two categories: those who like the easy warmth, and those who find it uncomfortable and tell me to stop. My gay girlfriends all love it (though granted most of my gay friends are guys, so this isn’t saying much) and find it fun to flirt knowing nothing can come of it. My gay boyfriends are all (except one) much more flirty than I am, so they probably wouldn’t be friends with me if I wasn’t so flamboyant.
I spent pretty much all of today studying with a friend of mine for my last final on Saturday. We started out in a cafe, then in my dorm’s lounge area, then we came up to my flat to cook dinner. He hasn’t been in my room before and did a double-take when he saw all my books. This happens all the time, so I just smiled and ignored it. Then he goes:
Him: “You’re a big reader, huh?” Me: “You know this already.” Him: “Well, yes, I knew you read a lot. I didn’t know it was this much!” *proceeds to express his surprise for two or three minutes* Me: “Can we move on now?” Him: “But, wait. Most people who read this much stuff it down other people’s throats. Why don’t I hear you talking about nothing but books all the time? Why don’t you show off more? It’s not like you’re modest about anything else.”
I tried in vain not to burst out laughing. If only the poor boy knew I had an entire blog dedicated to my addiction.