Tim Parks has just published a book on reading (and writing, and authors, and books and what do we expect from books, and…). The book’s title is ‘Where I’m reading from – The changing world of books‘ and it’s a must-read for anyone who has ever wondered why they read what they read, why they like some books and not others (or rather, why some people like the books that they don’t like at all), what it is that we find so fascinating and absorbing about some novels and stories and many more such questions. Tim Parks tackles all these questions head on in this book. He notes that the job of a writer nowadays is not just writing a novel or memoir or whatever but that it also includes promoting themselves, doing readings, being engaged with the marketing activities whatever they are. They may have to find an agent or they may have to be knowledgeable about self-publishing and all that entails, if all else fails. There is no such thing as creating your masterpiece and then sit back and it’ll happen and you become famous, and make lots of money, or you become just another disillusioned writer, unable to sell and make a living out of the craft. But then, that’s nothing new. What does it mean to be famous, to write well, what is the novel about, what is the format and how is it changing?
I’m not going to review this book fully, partly because I have not quite finished it (even though Parks helpfully says that if you’ve had enough of a book, a novel, then there’s nothing to stop you from closing it and to start another – I haven’t yet had enough of this one and will finish it and probably read some chapters again). The other reason for perhaps not reviewing it at all is that I have decided no longer to pursue this path of reviewing everything I read or to commit myself to reading books by fellow authors who approach me.
There isn’t the time. There is too much to read and research and so little time to do all the things that I want to do: for example, write more stories and another novel. This year I have published two books even though they have been in the making and writing for a very long time, years in fact (see my landing page) and I have started to write a couple of short stories that have been hanging around in my head. I want to get on with these so that I can start my next novel. I have also got my garden book on the go and although I’m not sure whether I’ll ever publish it, I don’t like leaving it unfinished now that winter has started. And then there’s photography, and…
What else: As well as getting on with my writing projects, I am learning to read music and play a music instrument, the clarinet to be precise, and it’s taking up a lot of time – but hugely enjoyable!