B is for…

 

I’ve taken on the challenge of an A-Z during April – one post each day on a chosen theme. My theme? Books and writing, of course…

B is for Books

I’ve always been a voracious reader.

As a kid, I devoured everything in sight. You name it – I read it. If it was part of a series, I wouldn’t stop until I’d consumed the lot. I still do.

In my late teens and early twenties, I read everything by Dickens, all the Brontes, Jane Austen, Henry James, Edith Wharton, Thomas Hardy, William Thackeray, and all volumes in the Forsythe Saga – and not just because I was doing extension English.

I even inhaled Mills & Boons- and that was back in the day when none of the heroines had sex before marriage – although their competitor for the hero’s affection always did. Perhaps that was the message Mum wanted me to subliminally pick up…

What do I read now? A lot of chick lit, but I’m tired of the silly stuff. What I love is probably best-termed women’s fiction. I also read cozy crime, travel memoirs, cookbooks, travel brochures and guides… I also re-read- I’m a fast reader, so find I’m freshly surprised on the next helping.

These days I have a kindle, but I still buy books – way too many of them. If only my favourite authors would stop releasing fabulous books

I read at night, I read in the pool, I read in the bath, I read for that 30 minutes between finishing work and when we start dinner. Often I have a few on the go at a time- depending on what I’m I the mood for. I wrote about my reading habits here.

B is for Bali

The Island Of The Gods. I’ve travelled up there quite a bit and love it. This post tells you why I’m hooked on Bali.  In fact, I firmly believe that there’s a Bali for all tastes – you just need to go to the right part of the island. I even wrote a blog post on that subject.

I’ve also set part of two books here – so far: Baby, It’s You and Big Girls Don’t Cry. I have the feeling that Book No. 7 could end up there too…watch this space.

If you want more Bali posts, check out this link.

B is for Brontes and Buccaneers

While I’m not a Jane Eyre fan, two books changed my life – Wuthering Heights and The Buccaneers.

Wuthering Heights was intense and passionate with a vein of obsession running through it. It was a perfect example of light and dark, surface and depth, wildness and civility.

I can still picture the Yorkshire Moors in my head, and as for Heathcliff? Yeah, I reckon I would have gone there.

The Buccaneers, by Edith Wharton, is an entirely different book. Unfinished at the time of Wharton’s death, it also has an ending – a BBC ending – that is very different to Wharton’s other books – and I like it all the more for that.

Wharton’s “Buccaneers” are newly rich American girls who don’t fit into the “old money” society of New York, but have much to offer titled but impoverished Englishmen. It’s largely a story of morals and class and how marrying correctly and “up” was seen to be what every young, rich girl should be wanting to do. It’s very much an early look at feminism and a woman’s place, role and expectations in society.

Underlying this we see what each of the “buccaneers” give up or compromise in order to make a “good marriage”. At one point Nan St George says something like “why do women when they marry become dull and quiet?” And – #spoileralert at the end – Laura Testvalley knows that to exercise her own free will to help Nan will mean she loses her own chance at love – the implication being that a woman can’t have both.

We see restlessness, acceptance, dissolution, and a yearning for something more. To follow your heart in a system that strangles passions is to turn your back on that system.

And Greg Wise as Guy Thwaite in the mini-series, and the way he looks at Nan/ Duchess Annabel? Be still my beating heart.

B is for Back and Bum

Both of which suffer when I spend too much time writing and reading and not enough time moving. Sure it’s an occupational hazard, but in order for my writing to be sustainable, these B words need to be healthy.

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