Friday, 19 September 2008

Booking Through Thursday (er, on a Friday), or how to break a blogual silence.

To anyone who's not heard of Booking Through Thursday, it's a weekly meme that's almost always about books and reading. It's great fun to read through people's various responses, as it highlights one of my favourite things about book blogs: how different people respond to the same thing. I'm not usually tempted to answer the memes myself, but this week's is too appealing. Answering it also helpfully breaks my blogual silence, which should give me the kick I need to finish off the stack of unfinished reviews I've got in draft form!

This week's BBT is:

Autumn is starting (here in the US, anyway), and kids are heading back to school–does the changing season change your reading habits? Less time? More? Are you just in the mood for different kinds of books than you were over the summer?

My reading habits are definitely influenced by the seasons, in that I find that June & July are the months I read the least. Sunny weather makes me want to be outside - be it for walks, picnics or drinks after work - and I'm terrible at reading out of doors. The newspaper or the New Yorker is about all I can handle when sitting in the sun. So I relish the start of Autumn, which I count as from August (if you want to learn a bit more about the Irish seasons check out the Wikipedia entry), as my rate of reading begins to pick up. This August had some gems in it, mainly Michael Pollan's excellent The Omnivore's Dilemma and Nicola Barker's equally excellent Darkmans (more on both soon). But September is my favourite month of the year - I love the back-to-school atmosphere (although I'm glad to not be actually back to school this year!), the renewed sense of purpose. For me, September is Autumn at its best: the fruit is ripe and the leaves are slowly changing and the days are getting just a touch shorter. I love it. It makes me want to read more than any other time of year. And this year I craved fiction. I craved fiction to the point where I looked at all of the new-to-me authors on the Booker shortlist and thought about how much I'd love to read them. I usually try to read the favourites on the Booker shortlist before the prize is announced, to have some sense of what the judges are deciding between, but I've never before had the time nor the inclination to read the whole list. But this year, my craving was enough for me to treat myself to the entire shortlist (so many hardbacks! Such a treat!). I've finished Amitav Ghosh's The Sea of Poppies (again, more on that later) and am now on Linda Grant's The Clothes on Their Backs. So far, I'm enjoying my newly reinvigorated autumnal reading habits.