Daily Archives: July 8, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Blogging (and Bookish) Confessions

I don’t always take part in Top Ten Tuesday‘s blogging challenges, but when I do, I make ’em good ones. (Follow the link, by the way, to be brought to the Top Ten Tuesday page over on The Broke and the Bookish, which is a veritable feasting hall of delight and inspiration).

And now. Let’s get stuck in.

Image: New Old Stock http://nos.twnsnd.co/

Image: New Old Stock
http://nos.twnsnd.co/

1. This blog has reduced me to tears on more than one occasion.

Some mornings, I just don’t know what to write about, and every word is hacked from the marrow of my bones. Some mornings I write about stuff that’s personal or painful or sad. Some mornings something I choose to blog about just touches my heart for no real or understandable reason (this happens to me a lot – I’m an easy crier). For loads of reasons, writing this blog can sometimes be an adventure in emotion – and that’s not always a bad thing.

2. I judge books too quickly sometimes – and live to regret it.

I am such a sucker for a gorgeous cover, and I can’t tell you how often a blurb has sucked me right in, only to spit me right back out once I’ve finished the book. Beautiful artwork always gets me on a cover, but what gets me even more is gorgeous typography. I’m a total lettering nerd. The last one I remember which really grabbed me – and made me buy the book before I’d even read the back flap – was The Twistrose Key:

Look at it. I mean... *look!*

Look at it. I mean… *look!*

You may remember that I enjoyed this book, but that it didn’t leave me as breathless with admiration as I’d hoped it would. Books are works of art to me, though, so I never regret owning them. I just sometimes regret reading them. (This isn’t the case with Twistrose, though – I think it’s a good, enjoyable book. With a stonkingly good cover).

3. I regularly – as in, more than once a week – wonder if I overshare on this blog.

Sometimes, I worry that I give out too much personal information here on Clockwatching…, even though – when I think about it logically and calmly – I realise that I don’t, really. I do my best to keep my family out of view, and I always aim to be respectful to others, whether it’s people about whom I’m writing (public figures, for instance) or writers whose books I review, or whatever. I share a lot about myself, perhaps, but I do that in conversation too so it comes naturally. Regularly, though, I do wonder whether I should consign this blog and all who sail in her to the dustbin of history; then, I remember that time will do that for me anyway, so why bother.

4. I dogear books, sometimes. And I write in ’em, particularly if they’re ‘working’ books.

Gah. I hate confessing this.

So yes, yes, all right, I dogear books if there isn’t a bookmark to hand. That doesn’t happen in my house very often, luckily. Sometimes I dogear if there’s a beautiful quote I want to make note of, or something, too. However, I never dogear the following: hardbacks, antiquarian books, library books, books that don’t belong to me, beautifully produced volumes, or books I’d consider ‘expensive’ (i.e. over twenty quid, or so). We’re talking cheap paperbacks here, so don’t lose your reason. And I only write in books if they’re research volumes – when I was studying, for instance, I would use books like text and workbook all together sometimes. Stop judging me.

5. Sometimes, I wonder who I’m blogging for.

It’s not something that keeps me awake at night, brimming over with angst or anything like that, but I do think about it quite a lot. Who reads my words – if anyone? Does it actually matter? If I never blogged again, would anyone care? I guess my answer is, I blog for me. I blog because I enjoy it and because it makes me feel part of a larger cultural conversation, and that’s pretty cool.

6. I have lied about reading certain books that I, in reality, have not read.

Not for a long time, in my defence. But when I was younger and trying so hard to be hip and down with it and cool, I would pretend to have read things like Sartre because I knew enough about him, in general terms, to hold a passionately argued discussion over coffee and/or beer. However, the fact remained that I had not read him. Now, I’m pretty sure nobody else had either, and we were all trying to fool one another.

Good times.

7. I wish I had more blog readers.

Yeah. So there’s this. I read about other bloggers who’ve been writing pretty much as long as I have who’ve managed to gather sixty thousand followers and over a million blog hits and I’m like: what am I doing wrong?

Image: New Old Stock http://nos.twnsnd.co/

Helloooo? Is anybody out here? Image: New Old Stock
http://nos.twnsnd.co/

The sad fact is, I’m probably not doing anything wrong, as such. Being a successful blogger is a lot like being a successful writer: it’s about timing and luck as much as it is about skill. But then, being a ‘successful blogger’ can be defined as having at least one reader who isn’t your mother, so by that reckoning I’m a blogging megastar. (Thank you, by the way, to everyone who does read me, whether it’s regularly or only once in a while. I appreciate it all).

8. There are so many books I didn’t enjoy that everyone else loved, and I’ve never really been able to admit it.

I still can’t really admit it here. I am loath to name names, but these books include: a beautifully presented work of post-colonial magical realism given to me by a friend for a birthday gift, many years ago; a thumping work of historical fiction which went on to win the Booker Prize; a Kurt Vonnegut-ish, J.G. Ballard-esque tale about exploration and drilling and science which I only made it halfway through before it hit the wall. I feel like a failure. But so it is.

9. I simply cannot keep up with all the blogs I follow.

I love them all, but I get to read about 5% of their content, and I skim a lot. This means I’m doubly appreciative of anyone who takes the time to read my words; I understand that mine is only one tiny voice in a multitude and that there are others who sing far more sweetly than I do. Every so often I set aside an hour and spend it catching up on my blog reading (and then, of course, there are the blogs I’ll always read, no matter what), so I think I do okay, all told. But still. This admission pains me.

10. I do firmly believe that people should be free to read what they want – seriously, I do – but I still hate entire genres of literature with a passion.

Well. Genre, at least. I hate the cappuccino-sipping Louboutin-wearing Dior-scented glitterfests which masquerade as ‘women’s fiction’, the sorts of books which obsess over relationships and the fact that our heroine has to have a man at the end or she’s a total waste of space as a human being. I am not a fan of modern women’s fiction, broadly speaking, and it pains me to see so many books being published about things I consider ephemeral and pointless. I do appreciate they’re very popular and bring a lot of people a lot of enjoyment, and that’s marvellous; all reading is good reading.

But still. How many books about a “clumsy-but-endearing heroine stumbling across the love of her life, losing him during a drunken misunderstanding whereupon he marries another, only to serendipitously meet again in Naples or Venice or somewhere, whereupon their other partners die/fall in love with one another/come out as gay and everyone lives happily ever” after can one person read?

Not judging anyone who loves them. Seriously, not. But they’re just not my type of book.

So, that concludes our session for today, mein lieblings. Care to share your own Top Ten Blogging and/or Bookish Confessions?