Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Plot Like Hardy, Write Like Maugham

2012 was to be the year that I dedicated my reading to independent authors, and whilst I tried (I really did), by the end of August I was feeling such a ‘lack of literature’ in my reading diet that I switched back to my ‘1001’ list.

I will keep those E-books that I have received on my reading list and will try to give them a fair go at some point.  The books that I did read made me realise what I enjoy about reading – it’s the plotting, language and characterisations.  With the exception of one or two indie books, these elements just did not figure.

If you could plot like Thomas Hardy, characterise like Stephen King and write like W. Somerset Maugham then you would be on to a winner.

I’m still undecided with regards to independent publishing, because of the two books I did enjoy.  Even a traditionally published author can write a dud, but generally they are well written duds.  It’s the quality of the writing that I am struggling with and this is why I have gone back to my original reading list.

A few years ago I used to be a member of a book club whose reading I felt to be a little too ‘high-brow’ for my humble tastes which didn’t venture much beyond Stephen King and Clive Barker.  But five years on I now feel that this is the level I am currently at.  I need to aim high to get the satisfaction I need – there’s still more Dickens, Dostoesvky, Tolstoy and Hardy novels out there I’ve yet to read and they will be my goals next year.

In the meantime I am really enjoying my current audio book the magnificent Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel.  I have had to do a little background reading about Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn and Sir Thomas More, as well as events during the King's reign, to understand the character motivations and the period, but it is so worth it.  My physical read is All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque.  The emotion evoked in this novel is so brutal that I can’t read it at night for fear it will pray on my mind whilst I am asleep. 

Now that’s what I call writing.

Until next time.


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