Hi guys, the lovely, young woman sighed breathlessly on the screen to her viewers. I clicked of the little pop-up ad at the bottom of her video, concerned with the overt distress she opened her vlog with. The anxiety and stress in her voice were palpable. She looked somewhat ashamed, too embarrassed to even be in front of her camera. She fidgeted nervously with her hair before she lurched into a hurried explanation for her state: I’m really not happy. I only read fourteen books in the month of November which isn’t great, which means I’ll have to read 21 books in December to reach my end of year goal — I clicked off. This was precisely why I had left. It seemed as though nothing had changed.
The poetry world is a mess. Big time. Recently the PN Review published a stinging critique of the “rise of a cohort of young female poets”, those being Kate Tempest, Hollie McNish and Rupi Kaur, and described their work as “the open denigration of intellectual engagement and rejection of craft”.
Back in 2014 the Hawking Index was born, and yes, you would be right in associating it with the great Stephen Hawking himself; but it’s not technically connected with him directly. Mathematician Jordan Ellenberg named it in Hawking’s honour, and albeit statistically flawed, it was invented with the intention of measuring how far people persist with reading certain books. Needless to say it didn’t really work as it could only gather data from very specific book files (i.e. e-book files which were read on a kindle and were compatible with the digital highlighting tool); but the initiative of the project was very bibliophilic in its intent, addressing the age-old controversial question every book lover challenges in their lifetime. To give-up on a book we are reading but not enjoying, or to persevere: that is the question.
Continue reading “Should you finish every book you start?”
“In every direction I turned I felt my soul being trampled upon, and as I had always suspected but was never able to confirm until now: my soul is composed entirely of books.”
Before this article begins I should stress an important fact about myself: I’m a passionate, enthusiastic, possibly madly-in-love bibliophile. Books are my absolute world, my whole universe. They take up all of my (non-working) thoughts of my day, they give me butterflies in my stomach that no lover has ever managed to compete with (although, my domestic partner has come exceptionally close, otherwise he wouldn’t be living with me and my beloved library.) My books are my family, they saved me. They got me through my darkest times, they never judged me, they comforted me, they held me and understood me when no one else did. But for the past year and a half I haven’t spoken about them much; they’ve been in my shadow, read in secrecy and left undiscussed. Why? Because my passion was locked away by myself; I became ashamed, secretive and silent. It was my response to being hurt, badly, and it’s only now I have the confidence to embrace my passion and who I am again fully and openly. I’m not hiding it away anymore; I’m wearing my bibliophilia like a tattoo on my lips. Nothing will not take this away from me, ever again.
I should really start my stressing a very happy new year to everyone whilst also adding my apologies for the belated content. Amidst working my two jobs, experiencing some emotional and mental upsets and shuffling non-stop between obligatory and willing socialising the end of the year flittered away without giving me chance to write. My lack of writing however was mainly the result of my determination to get some much-craved reading done, and thanks to organisation and a new reading tactic I managed to reach my end of 2017 reading target as well as implement a reading technique that I’m finding incredibly useful already in my new and improved literary ambitions for 2018. Here are just a few mini-reviews of some of the books I read in December:
In early November, on a particular day, six people messaged me ‘happy birthday’. Three of them were relatives (my mother, cousin and an aunt), the other three friends. That was all.
This was the result of my first birthday off social media, making my 26th birthday probably the most sincerest one I’d had in over fourteen years. To contextualise: a month prior I had decided to log out and block myself from all of my social media accounts. Admittedly, this was initially undergone as a form of temporary hiatus, but last week I decided to make the change permanent. Continue reading “deleting myself online”