In a good week I can read about three novels. I think this is pretty awesome. I don't think that this is because I'm a particularly fast reader, but more down to the fact that most of the novels I read are either:
a) quite short
b) really really fun to read.
When you are really enjoying what you are reading you will plough through it. And I tend to pick books that I know I will enjoy.
However, having read so many teen/children's books lately (and I read a lot, mostly down to my job as a children's bookseller and the copious amounts of freebies I get sent), I'm starting to wonder if I have dumbed down my brain and made it impervious to what is commonly known as 'high-brow literature'.
The facts are these:
1. I read Tess of the D'Urbervilles when I was nine and a half.
2. I have an English Literature degree from Durham University.
3. I work in a bookshop.
From these facts, you might probably think I'm OK when it comes to reading big fat chunks of brick-like novels. There was a time when you may have been right (I vaguely remember reading Jane Eyre in a day at university because I had forgotten that I had to read it and know it intimately for a seminar the following day).
But it appears that my powers of being able to read proper 'grown-up' novels has left me. I have a seminar on Tuesday where we will be looking at how time can be played with in narrative structure, so I am reading Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks. I have absolutely no problem in accepting that it is a great work of literature (all the quotes on the outside and inside jacket covers tell me so). I started reading it last Tuesday, thinking: 'I'll do 100 pages a day, should be finished it by the weekend'. This hasn't happened. I am only on page 63 as of 20:36 on Friday night. I am working all weekend, so probably won't get too much reading done then either. This is a 500 page novel. If I've only managed 63 pages in four days, this means that it will take me... well... I can't do the maths but you know what I mean. Essentially my chances of finishing it before the seminar are pretty much nil.
What I'm finding particularly strange about this Birdsong mess, is that this is a title regularly on English GCSE further reading lists for First World War literature modules. If I've managed to revert my brain back to a teen-like reading mode, then surely I should still be able to get through this book, as it's recommended to most 16 year olds following the national curriculum.
What the frick has happened to my brain?
Will I manage to complete Birdsong before my seminar on Tuesday?
Will I inadvertently sleep through my day off on Monday and therefore lose any chance I have of finishing the novel on time?
All the answers and more in my next update...