I haven’t written much on this blog in these last few weeks, though I have done a lot of writing of the PhD I’m working on. That’s where I’ve been. Long and early mornings of writing in the polytunnel where I mostly work, followed by afternoons of walking, thinking and reading. Sometimes academic kinds of reading to inform what I want to write about next, but more often just reading whatever has attracted my attention. From the recommendations of friends and general reviews, of course, but without additional findings from libraries and bookshops while these have been mostly closed. And yes I have ordered some other books from real shops and publishers in all this, like News From Nowhere here in Liverpool. And I’ve walked to the university library a couple of times to pick up pre-orders from there. But more often I’ve just downloaded whatever I’ve wanted and been reading increasingly on an iPad. Something I thought I’d never take to, as a lifelong lover of the feel and even the smell of real books. But I have and I suspect it’s led to me reading differently and perhaps more widely?
So let’s have a look, because you can on an iPad, at my pile of recently read and what’s coming next books.
This is the top end of my pile. I’ve just finished the Kazuo Ishiguro this morning (worth reading if you enjoyed ‘Never Let Me Go’), read the Claire Fuller last week (astonishingly good and hugely recommended) and seem to be not quite taking to the Stephen King (perhaps the limited appeal of disastrous dystopias right now). Then the top three are what I might read next. Samples of each downloaded to see how I get on with their first few pages. Particularly impressed by ‘Kindred’ which starts with this:
Which sounds great doesn’t it? The beginning of a book I’d probably have never approached at all without the recommendation of my friend Martin, but also if I hadn’t then been so easily able to go and download these samples.
Here’s the next section of my book pile.
The Elena Ferrante quartet, much loved, I was half way through when the first lockdown arrived. Only going and downloading these last two parts once the shops had been closed for ages. The David Baddied I’ve already written about, as I have ‘Wild’ which I enjoyed re-reading so much for my work that I’ve since ordered the new Jay Griffiths which will be out this coming week. The other two here are also for my work. And next?
We’re back into the just gone winter of the pile here. A mixture of work, novels and music. Most of which would be in what we call our Oxfam Cupboard by now if that were real physical books. Ready to be taken to the nearest charity shop or passed on to friends, since I mostly don’t keep books, not liking to have too much stuff around me. But of course these are a different sort of real and so haven’t added to the actual pile below, which I’ve brought temporarily out of the cupboard for this photograph.
The usual mixture of failures and success and still here only because the charity shops are closed.
Which might be why I’ll continue with reading on an iPad even when we’re through all this. To limit the stuff to be lumbered down the road to the Smithdown Oxfam, and maybe also for the various conveniences of reading differently.
And of course I’m looking forward to the libraries and the bookshops opening again, of course I am. There’s a quality of serendipity happens in them that no online resource can even touch. I also know the vast majority of people prefer real books to these ebooks. But me? I think I’m in the middle of changing my mind.
More about reading here at A Book in Your Bag.
The ebooks shown above have been bought from Apple. Though I’m also borrowing others from the currently limited selection at Liverpool City Libraries. And will happily buy independently from Bookshop.org once ebooks are available there.