Writing burrowed itself into a chamber in my heart, building underwater castles and princesses to live in them, when I was around seven years old. This world of words has lived with me now for over two decades, present and resolute, though I denied it for most of that time. And yet, through all of my aliases, the necessity stayed with me.
The darkness looming over the Scandinavian Countries has crossed the sea and reached Great Britain and the US. With shows such as The Killing and The Bridge reaching international success and Borgen winning a BAFTA award, New Danish Drama has never been more popular in the English speaking world.
Something I try to stay away from as an author are cliches. You know, those phrases and plot “twists” and character traits that have all been done before? So much that everyone can recognize them in an instant. Cliches have a bad rap, or so it seems, but when you start looking at specific genres like romance and fantasy, cliches thrive – in a good way.
Like any nosy New Yorker, I first encountered Sophie Blackall on the subway. I most often ride the F line, and found myself pleasantly surprised one day by the depth of feeling in the illustrations above me. Blackall is a children’s book author, born in Australia but currently based in Brooklyn, and would likely not mind the neat line one might draw between her and Maurice Sendak.
Although reading is termed solitary, some of my best times on holiday have been when we’ve been sitting beside each other, each immersed in our own book. And in fact here reading becomes very social, because a laugh will make the other want to know what’s so funny, which often turns into reading pages out-loud, and so both benefit from the words. A couple of years ago we spent at least half of our holiday reading, and it was one of the best holidays so far.
When Barack Obama was elected US President in 2008 “The Onion” ran the headline “black man given nation’s worst job”. Much as I found their take on events amusing, even being President during this period of such economic misery can’t compare to what really is the worst job in the world: writing.
The enthralling The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (1997) is what I’ll be musing about. I read the novel earlier this year and was completely taken by both the beauty of it and Roy’s writing. Its narrative is that of forbidden love set in the milieu of socially and politically fragile India.
I’m going on a little trip around other islands of the Caribbean for a month or so in June and July, and had the idea of inviting you to contribute a guest post to this site while I’m away.
Have you ever tried reading aloud with someone else? Have you noticed differences in the reading process?