Not even on the same wavelength

Bookclubs, new job, failed NaNo…it all happens here (well it sort of already did, anyway).

Wow, we’re over a month into the new year and this is my first post. Firstly, I have to say that I’m really sorry I’ve been incredibly absent since I started my new job, and I don’t really have much defence. Things have been rather busy since the beginning of November, so let’s start with that, and then get onto the heart of the post.

Needless to say, NaNo was an absolute disaster. I started out with the very best of intentions, even had my novel all planned out; detailed character studies (and they even had names), a detailed chapter plan, and an end goal. Then reality set in, a few later evenings at work, Christmas planning…life, I guess. By the end of the second week, I had sort of accepted defeat. Unlike 2016 when at the midway mark I was just 7,000 words behind schedule, I found myself 16,000 words behind schedule, and I knew that I had to face facts. For all the planning, the months of stupidly waiting to write the novel I had been thinking about for months, it just wasn’t going to happen. By the end of November (and NaNo), I had written a total of 5,306 words of a fanfiction. The novel I wanted to write is now sitting beside my manual typewriter, and will likely stay there for a while as I bask in my perceived failure.

The new job is going relatively well. My boss is a great guy until he’s not. As with a lot of small business owners, he has massive dreams, but things change, and with them so goes his good mood. Just this week he had a bit of a tantrum, all toys were thrown out of the pram, and I ended up staying very late at the office. I guess this happens everywhere (in fact, from experience I know it does), however, we are suffering a bit of a cold snap, and by the time I got home my nice (sometimes warm) flat was cold and, thanks to my hiatus hernia, it was too late to eat unless I wanted to go to bed the wrong side of midnight!

Reading…I’ve picked up a book again. Okay, I’ve picked up a lot of books again. I am currently reading book 8 of the year and loving my return to reading. At the beginning of last year, I was forced to leave the reading group I’d joined at the local library due to unbelievably long working days and a horrid commute. At the end of last year, when I started the new job, I made a return to the group and was welcomed with happily welcome arms (though now I fear that may be a lot to do with the fact that they are struggling to pick up membership numbers). Last month we were given the book Suite Francaise by Irène Némirovsky. For anyone who doesn’t know about it, I have left the link to her bio above. This book marked the third book in a row which dealt with the World Wars. To say that I dislike war-based novels is a bit of an understatement, and to read three in a row is a little bit like torture. I gave the choice (and the chooser) the benefit of the doubt, there are a lot of war novels on the shelves. But last night (after suffering the tortures of reading this book which I will be generous in simply saying is ‘unfinished’) and listening to the suggestions for the forthcoming months, I started to seriously wonder if returning to the group had been the best thing. When people started to suggest another novel by the deceased Nemirovoksy (seriously overrated), Margaret Atwood (who’s The Handmaid’s Tale was a book I had to read for A’level, and Oryx and Crake for my degree), and Rose Tremain (who they gushed about for 20 minutes – causing me to miss my bus), I realised that we are all likely on a very very different wavelength.

I know that it’s good to try new authors, and I do, on a relatively frequent basis, but I want to ENJOY my reading. Tremain, Atwood and Nemirovsky are clearly the sort of novelists these people enjoy reading, or perhaps they don’t so much enjoy them as enjoy being Lit Snobs who like to be able to say “Have you read the latest by Atwood/Tremain/Ffaulks, it was simply sublime”. I honestly don’t know. This month the book is called Freedom by Jonathan Franzen, and next month it is the ‘wonder’ that is Jude the Obscure. My suggestions of something by Neil Gaiman (who I feel is an incredible and versatile author) and Northanger Abbey were looked upon as jokes almost. I don’t know why I feel as though I am a child in that room sometimes, but perhaps now is the time I should admit defeat, pick up my pile of chicklit, fantasy, sci-fi and Austen and move on to another group.

I hope that everyone is well. See you on the other side.

One thought on “Not even on the same wavelength

  1. Take your fiction that makes you happy and go home. There’s no excuse for anyone forcing you to read Jude the Obscure. To borrow a phrase from a very famous First Lady on this side of the pond: Just say no. I’d consider reading any number of books (as you say,) but the ones you mentioned? Not those. Life’s too short to not enjoy your fiction. So say I.


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