If we were having coffee and you asked me what I was reading at the moment (people always ask book editors —and sometime-book-bloggers—what they’re reading at the moment), I would tell you I’m reading a (slightly disappointing) thriller and also doing a lot of faux reading.
Yes. Fake. Reading. When you are short on spare time (I have mentioned toddler twins, yes?), us readers must find other ways to book. And while I can in theory sneak in 15 minutes on my commute, and another 5 while I meander (carefully) the streets of central London on my way to the office, and perhaps another 10 in bed before I pass out for the night, it’s not really enough. Plus in the multitasking fury that is my brain sometimes those train rides are for other things like the grocery order, the birthday message that is 3 days late, a really (un)important Facebook update or some mindless staring while said brain fails to latch on to any one thing for more than 10 seconds. I’m tired. And my brain is tired and sometimes even reading, to my utter disappointment, seems tiring.
And so I have found myself listening and watching ‘books’ instead. I know stories are stories but of late my radio listening and television watching is geared to the literary adaptation, and somewhere in my chaotic mind this ‘counts’ as book time. Not that I should have to justify it. Well, except that I’m a supposed book blogger who is too tired to read… In any case I have recently enjoyed some wonderful renditions of novels that have then inspired me to seek out the original material so that one day I can experience them again (properly—well, as intended) in their text-based form.
Radio 4 is one of the great joys of living in the UK and apart from hosting the only soap opera I care about, they broadcast the most wonderful radio dramas. It is from here that I have recently enjoyed the sheer fun and exquisiteness of Winifred Watson’s Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (thanks to a tip-off from a friend), and the rich, intense, ambitious novels of AS Byatt’s ‘Frederica Quartet’. On television we this week finished the third season of the Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries, a wonderful series based on Kerry Greenwood’s delicious novels set in the 1920s and featuring Phryne Fisher, the most fabulous lady-detective ever invented. Earlier in the summer a delightful adaptation of Gerald Durrell’s My Family and Other Animals (one of those books I fear everyone else in the entire world has read except for myself), kept us both entertained and endeared.
So here we are now on our second coffee (it’s been a long week, right?) and I can tell you that even though I may be too tired and my brain too busy to devote the time to reading that I would like, I am at least finding other ways to ‘book’, to immerse myself in intriguing, clever and enjoyable literature—the type of stories that both cheer and inspire.
And very soon, in a mere few moments, I will be off to bed with the thriller I’m reading to squeeze in 10 more minutes of reading joy before I pass out. Goodnight, coffee drinkers and readers. Book well.