Last night I watched BBC2’s coverage of ‘World Book Night’. The majority of books given away were contemporary and I have to confess that although I recognized the titles I haven’t read the novels themselves.


There are several reasons for this.  I really don’t like modern or rather post modern novels so my reading history tends to cut out in the early 1960s. I think it’s a dislike of  both style and subject matter which doesn’t leave me with much to go on.

I also found whilst teaching English that I simply didn’t want to read in my spare time (apart of course from glossy fashion magazines) It seemed too much like a busman’s holiday. Ironic that I took up teaching driven by a love of literature then ended up avoiding it.

The last reason is more pragmatic. Since the onset of my vertigo/ balance problems my eyes and brain can’t cope with so many words on a page. Prose is the reading equivalent of standing on the Empire State or Bristol Suspension.

However I can do journals and diaries since the page entries are smaller (at least they seem that way). The last journal I enjoyed was that of Mary Wollstonecraft, which I would recommend.  It’s gossipy and literary, a brilliant combination. I found myself wanting to write hate mail to Henry Fuseli and Gilbert Imlay.

And of course there is always poetry which is for me so much easier on the eye.