Wednesday, April 05, 2006

On writing novels

and why it is so stressful and heartbreaking, see the very good pair of posts at Sara Gran's blog (the story will be continued in several further installments). Here's the Amazon link for Sara's novel Dope, and here's where to preorder the paperback re-release of her previous novel Come Closer.

(And in case you missed it the first time round, here's me euphorically raving about Dope, and here are my thoughts on her other books.)


  1. I agree, these are very moving posts. I've had her books in my Amazon basket for a while, her writing on her blog makes me think I should just buy and read them.

    How do you find the time to read so much, Jenny? I just can't get through books very quickly in the small amount of free time I have. Very frustrating when I keep coming across articles about ones I would like to read.

  2. It's funny, I have been thinking that I feel like I've been reading much LESS than usual this year, especially given that I'm on sabbatical! There are times when I really do read to excess, like if I'm overworked and it's during the school year & you give me a bag with 20 crime novels in it, it will be a week later and I'll have read them all, binge reading out of stress and overwork. (And I usually am reading quite a lot of stuff that never makes it onto the blog, i.e. anything that makes it into my teaching or academic writing does not need to get recorded here.)

    So part of it is reading addiction, part of it is that I'm a very fast reader (and I like nothing more than reading for 8 hours at a stretch, in my opinion Dickens novels should be read in one sitting & I can quite see why slow readers do not always enjoy them so much, and if I read one delightful novel I was to read two more RIGHT AWAY), part of it is that I do have an awful lot of free time. Even when I'm teaching--say if I work 60 hours a week, which seems about fair, those hours are spread over all different times of day and night--and I live by myself, so though I do try and have exercise and some sort of social life it is also true that the vast majority of the time I do not spend working or sleeping (and I don't sleep very much, I wish I could sleep more but it seems impossible) is spent reading! You forget if you have not lived by yourself for a long time that every meal you eat, every cup of coffee you drink, every idle hour you while away is spent reading SOMETHING at any rate--even counting a lot of hours wasted online or leafing through TLS or whatever, this leads to a lot of books read. Television doesn't have much appeal, if I had cable I would watch various decent things of the Sopranos/Six Feet Under ilk but as it is television is so slow & so unsatisfactory compared to novels, and I feel more or less the same way about films--so slow, so thin unless it is something really exceptional, in which case I will watch with pleasure...

  3. Ah, too bad you don't watch TV - my friend Elissa (who I think took your Restoration/18c drama course) has recently gotten me hooked on Veronica Mars. It was a good break from thesis...which I should get back to in this moment. This blog, too, works as a good break.


  4. Oh, silly me - the reason I mentioned VM was because it seems like something you might enjoy, although I may be mistransferring your book tastes into TV. But it's fun and noirish.

  5. Reading your comment reminded me of all the time I did live alone (about 10 years), and all the reading I did during that time.

    Quite agree with you about TV. I always think of it as a kind of 2/3 thing to do with your time. You can't quite do something else while you watch it, and you can't actually watch it as it drives you mad with the slow pace. I only watch planned things on TV -- never live, always DVDs. However, no time for that either as I always read for preference, unless there is a movie the girls are going to watch that I don't mind seeing also. (They are not old enough to watch my favourites like Q the Winged Serpent.) I don't have cable or satellite or that stuff either. I am allergic to live TV.

    I bet I will get back to reading addiction one day, if I live long enough ---- so until then, I will just plod on at my slow pace and keep accumulating titles in the Amazon basket and everywhere.

    Thanks for the lovely comment! It is a privelege to get a little glimpse of your life.

  6. Sara Gran's comments are very accurate and honest. One thing about her work is that she has the confidence to jump from one type/genre to another in her different books. Publishers really don't like that at all.