New Year’s Notions

safe_image-phpIt’s coming up to a new year, after a year that left a lot to be desired (see previous post) and, as usual and culturally normal, I’m thinking about what I want the coming year to hold.

But I am emphatically NOT talking about New Year’s Resolutions, because we all know that they are not worth the paper or cyber-space they’re written on.

I’m also not going to participate in the annual self-flagellation that marketers love so much to capitalise on.

We (and the mags and websites with content to fill) love to talk about what we should do less of: we should weigh less (always, and quite regardless of whether our health will actually benefit).  We should eat less; less  altogether and especially less sugar/carbs/fat/cheese/meat… or whatever is the bête noire of the moment.  We should drink less coffee or alcohol or diet coke.  We should spend less money and less time on social media.  We should work less – or relax less, depending on who you ask.

It’s a curiously puritanical approach to life, in a culture that simultaneously urges us to indulge our every whim.  Continue reading

Things I Learned in 2013: The one about reading

You may be wondering what a woman of my age (viz, no longer in the first flush of youth) can have to learn about reading.  The answer is, apparently, plenty.

You see, last year, I discovered, about half-way through the year, that I wasn’t reading much. Books, that is.  I was reading things on the internet – and no, not just status updates and captions on cat pictures.  In the course of a couple of quasi-scientific studies I conducted on myself during the year, I found that most of the time I spent on the internet was reading proper article-type things – serious newsy ones and amusing ones and a lot to do with the craft and business of writing.

The internet has, in effect, become my newspaper, my professional journal and my very own comedy channel.

And that’s all well and good (although, as I said in the previous post, the time spent on that needs to be controlled).

But I wasn’t reading many novels.

This, I hardly need to say, is not good.  I am a novelist.  For a novelist not to read stories is like an artist eschewing galleries, or a musician deciding to wear earplugs 24/7.  It’s as necessary for a writer to read as it is for some who likes living to breathe.  And it has never been a problem before.

But I wasn’t doing it.

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Readers, flex your buying muscles for authors you love

Super Reader, as found on freedigitalphotos.net

Super Reader, as found on freedigitalphotos.net

I’ve just had a conversation with an author friend that made my blood boil and my hair curl and I want to share it with you because YOU HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE THIS BETTER.

Seriously, how many things is that true of?  Not many.  But this is a situation that you, as a reader, as a consumer can have a direct and meaningful influence on.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to PRE-ORDER THE BOOKS YOU WANT TO READ.

What, you say?  Why?  What difference does it make when I buy them?  Surely the sale is what matters?

The answer is, yes, it can matter a lot.

Continue reading