Thursday, 18 June 2009

Reading Delights

Is it really two weeks since I last blogged? How did that happen? I have been too busy enjoying myself in the post-first-draft cocoon of bliss, clearly. (Don't hate me for it, the angst and moaning will return when I come to edit the thing next month, no doubt.)

I have been having a rather lovely time anyway, floating about feeling stress-free and cheerful, now that Novel 4 is done (well, awaiting some work, but you know. Done, for the time being.) I've started thinking about future novels - I've got a couple of ideas in mind - and even though I had planned not to do anything about it until September, this morning I found myself writing the first few paragraphs of something new. I just couldn't help it - I thought of a great opening line while I was going to sleep last night, and just wanted to start the scene before I forgot. Felt quite excited about it...

Lovely Milla (hello lovely Milla) asked in the last set of comments how I go about 'growing' ideas for a new novel - and at this stage, it's as if I (oh God, this is going to sound dead pretentious, I apologise) - as if I am 'listening' out for them, as if my ears are pricked up for juicy storylines and characters. It feels like my mind is totally receptive and I'm letting myself tune into various elements of a story - for instance, particular scenes that would be good, themes, a character who comes to me. So at the moment, I'm just scribbling down fragments as they pop into my head, and hope that by the time I come to start writing, proper, I can assemble a coherent narrative of them.
Does that make any sense at all? I'm not sure it does to me either, but there you go. It's hard to explain.

Had a lovely treat this morning anyway as I used my Reading Spa voucher at the fabulous Mr B's Emporium of Reading Delights, one of the independent book shops in town. It was ace. First, a consultation - well, good old chat, really - with the manager Nic about the kind of books I like and don't like (over a cuppa and some absolutely delicious cake), plus I had a list of authors I had never tried but felt I should and didn't know where to start - ie PG Wodehouse and Iris Murdoch (no, never read anything by either - shame on me etc.) Then he went off and after a bit of discussion with the other members of staff, came back with a huge pile of books they thought I might like. I got to sit in this big comfy armchair in the 'Bibliotherapy Room' browsing through and making my selection. Talk about my idea of bliss. This is what I chose, if you're interested:

PG Wodehouse - The Code of the Woosters
Iris Murdoch - The Sea, The Sea
Carson McCullers - The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
Jhumpa Lahiri - Interpreter of Maladies
Anita Shreve - Bodysurfing

What do you think of my list? Have you read any? I could have spent a fortune in there, and there were definitely a few I'd go back for another day. Joy!


JJ Beattie said...

Oooh, that big comfy chair experience sounds just delectable. I WANT...

PG Wodehouse and Iris Murdoch are on my list to read and I've read several Anita Shreve's recently and really enjoyed them - I particularly enjoyed the recent one, Testimony. (I haven't read Bodysurfing but I have heard good things about it.)

I look forward to hearing what you think of them.

Angie said...

That bookstore sounds lovely!
All of those authors are on my list, but the only one I've read (shame on me!) is Interpreter of Maladies, which is fantastic. I adore Lahiri's writing.
What a great list, have fun digging into that pile!

Calistro said...

Oooh what a great service. It sounds like book pampering. Perfect!

I've read The Sea, The Sea - I 'think' I enjoyed it (I've got a terrible memory for books and films. I can read/watch them and a couple of months later I've completely forgotten what happened in them!).

Have you seen the film 'Iris'? It's heartbreaking but gorgeously acted.

Debs said...

That bookstore looks fabulous, I'm not surprised you love it there.

I have to admit that I haven't read any of the books that you bought, but also keep meaning to read PG Wodehouse.

Beleaguered Squirrel said...

I've read the Wodehouse but none of the others. The Wodehouse I loved, but was a teenager at the time. Dunno whether I'd still like it, but am guessing I would.

This bookshop-consultation idea sounds marvellous, and how imaginative/original. The only similar experience I've had was shopping for bras at Bravissimo, LOL!

Lucy Diamond said...

Hi all,
Yes, a treat indeed, I recommend trying it for yourself if you're ever in this neck of the woods! (And the shop DID win Independent Bookshop of the Year (or something) last year so they know their onions!)
I haven't read Anita Shreve but he suggested her as someone to try based on other authors I liked. Looking forward to getting stuck in to them all now!
(And Cally, yes, I saw Iris - thought it was brilliant.)
Have a nice weekend everyone! I'm gonna be reading... :)

Milla said...

Lovely, ooooh, the lovely Lucy D called me lovely. Yes, "Grow" not a good word, but it's the swelling of the thing perplexes me. I want to rush from start to finish with only lots of waffle in the middle.
OK, books, ADORE with all capital letters PGW. The Sea The Sea is probably IM's best, Didn't like the Lahiri, haven't quite got round to AS (the covers are too purpley, yeah, lit crit or what!) Read Heart (FAB title) a million years ago.

L-Plate Author said...

There you are Lucy, I thought you were quiet. I've somehow lost you on google reader until today. Wondered how you were medears.

I know exactly what you mean about growing ideas, although I have to watch really horrible programs to think of them...or just go to our local shopping centre and look at some of the weird people who aren't at work and...well, the less said about that the better. Oh and remember, I picked up a few threads when I was in hospital, some right dodgy characters there, like the one who brough her boyf a framed photo of the two of them to put by his bed. He was only on the emergency ward...after being attacked with a machete.....x

Lucy Diamond said...

Milla - I know what you mean about the Anita Shreve covers - they have put me off in the past but the book-shop-man was sure I'd like given my list of fave authors (Kate Atkinson, Rose Tremain etc) We shall see... (PS You are VERY well-read - I will come to you for advice next time - well, if you've got a comfy chair and nice cake, of course...)

L-Plate - ooh, that all sounds rather grim and grisly! Machete attacks don't really feature in my novels I am quite glad to say! x

L-Plate Author said...

Ah but I am a grim and grisly girlie!

And the machete man didn't exactly enamour me as he was in the opposite bed to me. I was scared to look ahead (and there is nowhere else to look when you are lying on your back) in case his girlfriend asked me 'what are you looking at'. In the end some lovely nurse took pity on me, rolled her eyes,shut my curtains and ordered them all to the day room. It was really scary, felt so vulnerable. But hey, that's what my books are about, hee, hee.