Saturday, 26 July 2008

Fiction rules

There was an article about 'reader's block' today in the Guardian. This is the notion that we find it difficult to start or finish a book. It even listed a top ten of books that readers most often abandoned. Ulysses was in there of course, but so, a little strangely, was Crime and Punishment. This happens to be one of the best books I have ever read, so I can't really sympathise with someone abandoning it halfway. It's riveting. What's the matter with you?

There was the usual rent-a-crowd of talking eggheads to tell us ways to overcome this problem. Except for Germaine Greer. She doesn't see the point of fiction, apparently. She thinks its a waste of time. Or at least she does this week. Who knows what she will say next week. It must be so tiring to be controversial to order. If there was a world in which there could only be either Germaine Greer's books or Dostoevsky's, I know which I would choose. I trust fiction more than I trust non-fiction. Good fiction will always be true.

That said, I must say I'm suffering a bit from readers block at the moment. I never seem to find time to read enough of a book in one go to really get into it. I also have an unfortunate habit now that when I read, I start to lose concentration and go off on my own tangents, exploring plot routes the author never took but might have done. It's an occupational hazard I suppose.

After weeks of foul weather and moaning about how cold it was, the sun has come out and everyone is moaning about how hot it is. We walked along the Cam to Grantchester watching dragonflies and little fish flitting about and passing Judith and John and kids out punting. There were far too many people for it to be exactly a peaceful walk, but that river and the meadows around it are special. I hope they always stay that way.

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