Okay, so it's a new week and, as ever, my obsession with books has taken an even firmer hold. I find myself dreaming of book blogs these days. Yup ... Anyone know a good therapist? :-P
First things first. What a gorgeous weekend we had here in South Wales. Saturday saw a trip to the first Cardiff Anarchist Book Fair. Tables and gardens of punkish types with extreme views on ... well, everything. From politics to restaurants, these guys managed to have issues with anything you might mention. Did you know that the more extreme Anarchists believe restaurants are a form of slavery? Because you are walking into a building and demanding that a man/woman bring you food which another under-paid, anonymous person has worked to make for you. ("Under-paid" wouldn't be the term I'd use to describe the likes of Gordon Ramsey). But, overall, it was a lot of fun. I took great delight in seeing the stall dedicated to reinforcing the hunting ban in this country. Will definitely be looking more into it. And a lot of flyers floating around about how to eat Vegan in Cardiff which I found very useful. :-) So thanks to the Anarchists for that.
After the fair it was on to the National Museum Wales where my friends insisted on taking me into the Diane Arbus exhibition. Apparently I'm the last human being to discover this wonderful photographer and am now keen to get my hands on the (book) collections of her pictures.
The weekend was then finished off with an afternoon/picnic/BBQ at the park in the blazing hot sun. The result was as follows:
Anyway, finally, onto the subject of books.
I have finished the wonder that is Northanger Abbey by Miss Jane Austen. While it's clearly not the best-written of her six novels, it's certainly one of the most interesting. Published posthumously in 1818, Northanger Abbey was actually written twenty years earlier and ready for publication before her other stories. I say it's not the best-written because, as with any young writer, it's clear that Jane's still trying to find her own style. The story focuses so heavily on our heroine, Catherine, discovering the joy of reading and the excitement of Gothic novels, it's hard not to see her as a semi-autobiographical version of the author. Perhaps it is Jane who discovered these stories and felt inspired to write her own. Catherine's naivety and silliness at being able to spook herself from the haunting interior of the Abbey seems familiar and could very well be a reflection of Austen's own youthful discoveries of the world.
For these reasons though, Northanger Abbey is currently fighting to be my favourite of the Austen novels. The story of a girl who hasn't quite found herself yet and is taken under the influence by all of those she meets is something every young girl can relate to. Jane Austen was 22-23 - my age - when she wrote this and by diving into this 200-page story I've found a way of connecting to one of my favourite authors that I have never been able to do before.
On my current reading list is (still) Necroscope by Brian Lumley, Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist, and The Hours by Michael Cunningham. It isn't that Necroscope is taking a while because I'm not enjoying it - quite the opposite actually - but it's the way Lumley writes that leaves me feeling a little exhausted after 50 pages or so. There's a lot to take in with this story and, though I know I'm going to want to carry on with the series, I may take a few years to finish the whole collection.
I chose The Hours to read because it's only fair that, while I'm reading other people's books, I can try and get through the pile of TBR I already own. The Hours was supposed to be the 'light reading' which accompanied the two 'vampire' themed books but, as everyone who's seen the film will know, it's not the most cheery read.
Let's hope my boyfriend doesn't find me curled up and trembling, in the fetal position, a few days from now after an overdose of vampirism, 'undead' rituals and pure melancholy.