Where I’m At Right Now…

You know those phases when writing and blogging don’t seem to gel? I’ve been in one of those funks all year. I’m reading like mad, choosing books I want to read, for pleasure. And if I’m not enjoying it, I stop and move onto something else. But the though of writing about them, makes me want to go ‘meh’.

Writing, the thought of it and the doing, is driving me spare. I’m not inspired or feeling creative.

Every now and again, I have a nice little writing run, like when I wrote my recent response to The Death of Noah Glass. I enjoyed writing and researching it and I felt satisfied when done, but it has been quite a while since I’ve had that feeling.

So in an attempt to tidy up my thoughts and desk, I thought it was time for a list or two.

List #1 – What I’m Reading Right Now

My main read is How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn, interspersed with chapters of  Accidental Feminists by Jane Caro. Loving both.

List #2 – Books I’m Struggling With – Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Don Quixote – This is my chapter-a-day readalong book but I’m just not finding it funny or even amusing. It’s absurd, ridiculous and convoluted. I had heard that Part 2 was more interesting than Part 1, but so far the first few chapters of it are not inspiring me either.

Sad to say, but Becoming by Michelle Obama has now hit a wall. I loved hearing about her younger years growing up, going to school, family life, meeting Barack, but her work life dilemma’s are not so interesting to me. I’m reluctant to pick it up now.

The Dark Interval: Letters for the Grieving Heart by Rainer Maria Rilke

Not as inspiring as I had hoped it would be. Too intellectual, not enough heart.

List #3 – New to the Pile

Writing the Country – Griffith Review 63
Memories of the Future by Siri Hustvedt
The Complete Stories by Anita Desai
This is not a Border – Reportage & Reflection from the Palestine Festival of Literature
Curiosities and Splendour – An Anthology of Classic Travel Literature (Lonely Planet)

List #4 – Books I’ve Finished But Haven’t Reviewed

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata.
I loved this quirky Japanese story and will try to respond more fully here, since it’s my book club book for April, but for now all I want to say is how much I enjoyed it.

The Skylarks’ War by Hilary McKay.
Fabulous historical fiction for kids and adults. I couldn’t put it down last weekend. This will win more awards I’m sure.

The Novel of the Century by David Bellos.
A fascinating insight into all things Les Miserables – glad I saved it for the end days of last year’s readalong though – lots of spoilers.

Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India by Shashi Tharoor.

Interesting, somewhat angry discussion on the lingering history and after effects of English colonialism. A book that came about when Tharoor’s 2015 Oxford Union speech about “Does Britain owe reparations to its former colonies?” went viral.

Narrow Road to the Interior by Basho.

This is the starting paragraph that has been sitting in draft since May last year:

Oku no Hosomichi is the title of Matsuo Basho’s classic travel journal (奥の細道, originally おくのほそ道). In translation it can be either Narrow Road to the Interior or The Narrow Road to the Deep North. It’s a genre called haibun, a Japanese literary form blending memoir, prose and haiku. According to wikipedia, Richard Flanagan’s Man Booker prize winning book took it’s title from Basho’s work. 

I read this whilst travelling by train in Japan last year, in the northern region that Basho walked through. I’ve had all sorts of plans since then, about writing a post that used my photos and Basho’s haiku, but it’s time to release myself from this commitment.
That feels better.
A load off my conscious…and my work desk.
Now back to the books 🙂

28 thoughts on “Where I’m At Right Now…

  1. Now doesn't that feel beter?This is a great format to get your thoughts on paperwithout making each book a long drawn out review. Save those momentsfor truly special books. On the other side of the world…another reader is struggling as well.I would like to join #ReadingIrelandMonth19 ….but cannot for the life of me make a list of interesting books and write a sign-up post. Today I WILL find some book….I must.Another dilemma: started listening to all the audio books I still have 'yet-to-read' and some of them are incredibaly boring. I'm 7 chapters into Shirley by C. Bronte (= 4 hours of 26 listened). The book just puts me to sleep, literally. I missed ch 5 last night (dozed off) but refuse to re-listen. I'm about to ditch this book, just not as good as Jane Eyre..not by a long run.So here I sit…big salad in front of my nose and the delight of having a croissant after I eat the healty stuff. Enjoyed this post, have a good night's sleep…and tomorrow keep reading what you enjoy! (..books for Dewithon 2019!)


  2. I know just how you feel when you say that writing about what you've read makes you want to go 'meh' – me too at the moment. Sometimes I just need to read without thinking about writing about it.I started to read How Green was My Valley earlier this year and struggled- so you've encouraged me to pick it up again! I gave up on Don Quixote – not funny or even amusing – so you're not alone with this one 🙂


  3. Thanks for your support again Nancy. My advice for what's it's worth – join in begorrathon, read lots of fab Irish books, but don't write a start up post if you don't feel like. I was like that with the Japanese Lit Challenge – I'm reading Japanese lit but didn't flag my intentions to join in – will add a review if I feel like it, and I'm enjoying reading about what the others are reading, but not worried about the rest.I've heard that Shirley is less satisfying than JE. If it's not working, move onto something else. Save Shirley for those nights when you can't get to sleep :-)I'm loving How Green was my Valley a lot – plan to spend my Sunday afternoon in it's company.


  4. Since I'm struggling to write about my reads at the moment, I thought I would play with more meme posts and focus on my TBR pile. I'm sure the writing mojo will return for us both one day soon.I'm loving HGWMV a lot. Reading the Welsh dialect is bringing back my time visiting Wales listening to the lovely sing-song accent. I hope you can find you're way back in.I'm seriously thinking of bailing on DQ, as it is I'm really only skim reading my chapters.


  5. Thanks for the support and the compliment Reece. I'm sure the writing mojo will return, but I just wanted to flag why things have been a little quiet around here lately….


  6. Thank you, that's exactly what I needed to know Anne! I will continue with Becoming. I loved the family photos that Michelle included too.


  7. Hi there. Can I jut say I know exactly how you feel. For me, reading the books isn't the problem, I just have no interest anymore in sitting and writing a blog review about them. This year as an experiment, I decided to take my blog away from the review side of things and instead blog about book related topics that interest me. Sure that means I post way less but I don't feel any stress about it. We'll see how it goes for the rest of the year. Also, finish Becoming lol


  8. This is me right here now. I am having trouble with the writing up, not the reading, so I just started experimenting with short thoughts on Instagram, instead of writing up on my blog every book I read. I want to try other kinds of posts on my blog as well, so I guess I am either changing or evolving….not sure which!Anyway, interested in the last book on your List #3 – New to the Pile!


  9. I started Don Quixote a few years ago and simply couldn’t read it. The premise is perfect, but so much is lost in translation and time.I have Michelle Obama’s book on my TBR-soon shelf—I’m hoping for a quick read that makes me ultimately feel good. Sorry to hear it’s bogged down for you. Sometimes it’s a mood, sometimes it’s the book.


  10. Amazing post. I love how much and how varied you read.I also have been reading, and not so willing to write reviews or post about my reads. I read the War Letters by Rilke, and also found them too intellectual, and also too peculiar to his own life and experiences to be of universal meaning, or meaningful to me. I pushed and finish the not so long book, but I could have very well quit reading and be fine.I'm also loving all I'm choosing to read. As for DQ, I won't tell you quit or continue. (I find myself not too motivated to blog through book II). However, I must say I've finished chapter 17 of part II today, (I listened to it), and if you don't read book II in full, first, CONGRATULATIONS on finishing the first book. Second, read chapter 17 as a stand alone chapter if you wish. It's another like the shepherdess's speech, this time done by DQ. It's about fathers and sons. Absolutely beautiful.I may also stop writing about what I don't want to write, and maybe change my typical book reviewing posts to something else. Or keep writing, but only whenever I want, without that dreadful sense of duty I imposed over myself, :)Cheers to great books!


  11. I was hoping that Becoming would be voted back in. I suspect it was just me reacting to corporate 80's culture!Good luck with your experiment too.


  12. Looks like quite a few of us are exploring our options. I had noticed & enjoyed your recent insta reviews. I'd like to get back into more photography, but not even feeling very creative with that either right now.


  13. I suspect that DQ will go, but Becoming will stay. I enjoyed the beginning so much, and I think you're right, it's my mood at the moment.


  14. Silvia your DQ posts are one of things that have kept me going! Your love for the book is a powerful motivator and I keep trying to work out what I'm missing. Perhaps it's a book and humour that doesn't translate well? Will definitely read chapter 17 – thanks.


  15. Took your advice….no sign-post for #ReadingIrelandMonth19…just dive into a book. I get some inpiriation from Cathy@746books Instagram messages. I just need somebody to push me. It's probably just that winter blues.


  16. What an excellent post, Brona! I think we can all relate to those feelings… and hope you don't mind if I borrow this idea the next time that mood strikes. Glad to know you enjoyed Convenience Store Woman. I've been seeing it around quite a bit lately and know it's available on my library's shelf. Too bad about Becoming. I do plan to listen to it soon, but if it's become a chore for you, by all means move on. DQ intimidates me and I've not been able to bring myself to try it. Glad you feel better now 🙂


  17. Ooooo, I love the idea of a full and complete collection of Anita Desai's short fiction. I must have a look for that! Glad to hear that the list-format has helped to break the posting rut. It's hard to find a balance with everything, isn't it!


  18. Please feel free to borrow my lists if they will help you too JoAnn…I'm planning a weekly list post going forward.DQ has become a chore; Becoming just lost my interest for a while. The above comments have convinced me to get through the 80's to the lead up to White House years 🙂


  19. Can't wait to see what Irish gems you find this month Nancy :-)You've got the winter blues & I have the summer reds – let's meet in the middle with some lovely autumn/spring hues instead!


  20. I know what you mean Anne. I've certainly had slow reading phases & times where I have an overwhelming desire to blog about anything as long as I'm writing something!I'm very keen to read my way through my Mount TBR, but my mood is so variable at the moment I couldn't commit to a certain number being read by a certain time. I'm just as likely to feel like reading any other book except the 10 on a list right now 😀 Contrary I am.


  21. Convenience Store Woman is in a pile of books I have to read for a work project so am very pleased to hear that you liked it. As far as the stay or go question–life is too short to spend time on books that aren't working for you. If they aren't speaking to you at this moment in time stop reading and send them on their way.


  22. I’ve never written in-depth reviews; I just write what I feel like on my blog. It’s not something I do to make money or win acclaim or any reason other than to have a chance to talk books with other people who love books as I do. I read what I want. I write what I want. And that’s it.


  23. Normally that is my approach too Mary, but every now and again, I'm happy to work at getting into a book that is hard to read or challenging in some way. Sometimes the hard work is the only reward, but sometimes, by the end, I finally get that ah-ha moment that helps me realise why the book is considered so great or important etc. I'm not sure I will get that feeling for DQ but I don't want to give up too easily as I think this will be my one and only go at it.


  24. Some of the books I read lend themselves to a long response and I love researching and putting those posts together. The problem, I see now, is that I was trying to do that with all my reads. And not all of the books I read warrant such a post. My new list approach will hopefully remove that self-imposed compulsion 🙂


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