It’s strange how things come back to me after all these years. Our choice of reading material over time. I awoke this morning thinking about probably the last book review that I wrote, it was for a book called “The Unmade Bed” by Françoise Sagan. I think I was 14 years old and at the time, we were expected to review books regularly at school as part of the English curriculum. I think at the time I was trying to find out more about sex since boys had begun to show an interest in me. As you can imagine, if anyone actually made a move on me properly, then I would at least want to know what was supposed to happen. I certainly wasn’t going to learn what sex was from a family who did not discuss it, other than the fact that it was not supposed to happen until you got married. I felt the need to find out what was supposed to be enjoyable when it happened. No-one seemed to want someone who knew nothing about it as a girlfriend, although they didn’t want an expert either, it must surely make sense to have a little knowledge. It wasn’t their faults entirely, as many parents assume their children will do exactly as they tell them until they are adults, less so these days but back then things were different. I guess that they do not think that as they rebelled, their children will also do so.
So, in my teenage rebellion, I often sat in the library, reading whatever I could find that might give me a clue. I hadn’t studied the sciences at school, so was not interested in anatomy, or how it all worked, more how it felt and what was supposed to happen.
Yes, “Feelings” were a big part of my life even then….
I read Mills and Boon books like any other teenage girl, but even my dad knew about them, the bodice ripping stories which could not be taken seriously, filling my head with ideas, he banned them from the house, so I used to read them at school, or sit in the library. I read quickly even to this day and so it didn’t take very long to read one of those, a lunch hour perhaps or a day’s worth of school breaks.
The last book review was different though. If I was caught reading it at home then I could quite honestly say that I had to write a book review for it. I was at the age, when we were expected to go out and find out own subject matter to read and review. I can only imagine what my tutor thought when she was faced with the review itself. It was a book that to this day, I can remember something about. In my naivety I had misunderstood the contents. I know, it should be pretty clear from the title. But I thought that it would have more detail in than it did and I felt that it was a let down. It took me twice as long to read as it hopped from character to character, I almost gave up and found another book to read, but my stubborn streak got in the way. It was of course about the sex life of the character and their escapades, it had no depth. But I felt that it lacked any excitement, it seemed almost mechanical in its writing. Part of me wishes to find the book again after all this time and re-read it to see if I gain any more enjoyment from it, but I fear that my time would be wasted and that I shouldn’t bother, so I haven’t yet. After all there is more to life than reading a boring book twice?
I recall writing in my review of my disappointment that the whole story seemed to be a catalogue of people who kept jumping in and out of bed with each other, swapping partners and all sharing the same bed. Somehow the thought of that repelled me and I found myself wondering if the sheets ever got changed. (Ever the practical thinking) I don’t think my review encouraged anyone else to read the pristine old book which sat on the library shelf and I doubt my teacher clamoured to the local library or bookshop to borrow or peruse.
So that was it… Did I need to write another review? I’d quite like to because it will give me the opportunity to read books again with purpose. I have read to learn things, but not so much for the enjoyment of a story, I miss that to enjoy the thoughts and processes which go through other writer’s heads. I love reading, I get totally consumed by whatever the subject is whilst I read a book, to the exclusion of everything around me. I cannot put a book down easily mid-read. I prefer to read it cover to cover so I am careful of the subject matter and as a consequence do not read nearly enough. I was sad to find myself saying a few years ago that I had not read a book in years, yes it had actually been about 5 years at that point, I had not had the time to myself to enable me to do that and resolved to try and change that. I have read more since then and take time to read mainly online. I love that about WordPress since it encourages me to look around and doesn’t take up the time that a book would and you still learn, read and see interesting things I also feel that it is still a luxury to be able to sit and read a book or article without interruption, one that I can’t always allow myself.