Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I Wish I Could Write Like Tolstoy


Stories are really only a string of words, most of which we all know, that are put together to describe and explain.  But, it is the way that you string them together that makes the difference between an okay writer and an incredible one.

W. Somerset Maugham has always rated very highly with me for the way that he is so comfortable to settle down with.  He draws you into the story, like you are a familiar friend; and he makes it look so easy.  Yet another writer strings his words together and it’s just a bunch of characters and a setting which feels like ‘just a story’.  There’s nothing familiar about it or believable.  You are not ‘drawn in’.

Now, after reading many chapters of Anna Karenina by Tolstoy, he’s rating way up there with Maugham in the way that he is making me feel.  The settings and dialogue are so natural, it all flows magnificently.  He isn’t overly descriptive yet I can picture the scenes and the characters effortlessly.  So much so that I’m going to ditch the audio version (which by the way is excellent) because I want to curl up with the ‘real deal’ and immerse myself within actual pages.  That is the joy of reading, and I haven’t felt like this for some time.

I used to love curling up with Stephen King many moons ago, okay so it’s horror which is not believable in the least, but it was King’s characterisations that I used to love so much.  However, I have been reading his ‘kindle single’ Mile 81 and I’m getting the feeling that he’s committed a ‘Meat Loaf at the AFL’ offence by not calling it quits.  It’s quite badly written, and appears to be a re-hash of old themes, though I haven’t finished it yet so I could be wrong (but I don’t think I am).  I’ve pre-committed to his new novel 11.22.63 (a date which is horribly close to my ex-husband’s birthday of 11.22.61!) on Amazon but feel it’s just going to be an addition to my King collection rather than a ‘must read’ once I get it.

On my other reading front I’ve nearly finished the audio version of Mill on the Floss, narrated by Nadia May, and I have really enjoyed spending time with Maggie Tulliver, although it hasn’t been an uplifting novel.  But, it’s another classic to put under my belt as I slowly plough through them.

Scare me Please!
I’m still looking for that ultimate horror.  I have been asking for recommendations but nothing seems to be forthcoming from you guys out there.  Please let me know what book or even short story has frightened you by way of a comment.  I’ve just ordered some Robert Aickman collections – one of them is Cold Hand in Mine which I’m really looking forward to reading and I’ve just enjoyed Pollock and the Porroh Man by H G Wells which was a nice and creepy short story and would have really scared readers back in Victorian England I’m sure.

So, I’m about to curl up with Tolstoy now, with my nightly latte, and marvel at how he can string together these words so wonderfully, and I can’t!

Happy reading and don’t forget those recommendations.



  1. Good stuff. I love reading, much more than audio books and even movies. I like reading horror story books. Love the blog. New follower.

  2. Thank you. Audio books do have their place - it's hard reading a book when driving to work or cleaning the house LOL :)