Friday, 24 February 2012

101st Post.

I've been thinking for a while about writing my 101st post (well, actually, I was thinking about what I would write in my 100th, but it turned out my 100th was about Effy and other notable, but not as awesome, cats). I've written a few words here and there, and yesterday when I was out walking I had one or two ideas, but nothing that I thought was particularly worthy. And this is my problem at the minute: this month has been exceptionally difficult with so many things going wrong or generally just being awful, and I haven't had the time to do anything I particularly love. When it comes to blogging, I'm over-thinking posts and not getting them written, when it comes to reading, I'm picking up a book and not having the time to get into it, and when it comes to walking, I've been so dazed by my own problems I've not seen much of what is around me. Half of what I have seen has been behind a camera lens. The reading is a particular problem right now: all my books are chunksters, and even with the ones I love I feel the old, "Oh, you again" syndrome I've complained about before. Nothing is changing, nothing is moving forward, and yet at the same time everything around me is a storm. It's almost like being in a bell jar surrounded by chaos. And I use the word "almost" deliberately, and without reference to Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar. I suppose it is what it is, these things are sent to try us, worst things happen at sea, and it's all part of growing up and being British.

So I need to move forward. In non-bookish aspects, I am getting things together a bit more. Finances are not quite as in limbo as they were (though their a-limbo status are not as favourable as we would have liked), I'm about to clean the house for the first time in weeks, I plan on exercising at some point (though it breaks my heart!) and I will try and relax in the bath later. And read. Set at least two hours aside to just read. One thing I will not be reading is War and Peace: I'm putting it aside 'til April. It is no better the second time around, and I'm starting to think I don't like Tolstoy. So what, then? What to pick up? I'm torn between sticking to the "currently reading" pile because I will be most happy to finish everything I've started, or put them all back on the shelf for a few months and start again fresh. Either option would make me feel better: the first option would make me happy in a few days or week when I see some proper progress, and the second option would make me happy right now. I don't like putting books back unread, particularly when I have been enjoying most of the books. But Lord, I need a change. And it's a good lesson: take a chunkster one at a time! I'm feeling drawn to Dostoevsky at the moment, should I go with it or wait a while? I don't know. I think I may be entitled to instant gratification, though! I don't know. I'll decide tonight. It would be so good to have a fresh currently reading pile. 

And yes, the 101st post... I think I might save all the retrospective blogging for the first blogiversary (some months away). But I will say this: blogging has greatly enhanced my reading pleasure! I love writing about what I read, and I love reading about what you have been reading. I never intended for this blog to be about the classics, and in fact when I started out, I never particularly intended to blog about books. I just wrote about whatever I was thinking at the time (most of those posts got deleted when I started letting my friends read my blog!). But this is how it turned out. And I never set out to only read classics. I just happen to enjoy classics: not only the stories, characters, descriptions, and style within each book, but the process of reading them. Their history. Reading a book from, for example, the 1700s and thinking about who else has read it, feeling the connection with individuals throughout four centuries. And this is why I also enjoy blogging - this connection is felt even more when I read a post by someone who has read what I have read, is going to read what I have read, or loves a book I want to read. Of course, there is the added bonus of treating novels of the past as historical documents of a kind. This approach to studying history is naturally fraught with methodological problems, but still, one can glean information from the past from a book that never particularly intended to give a snapshot of a bygone era. All these reasons are why the classics are important to me. I do occasionally enjoy contemporary fiction - for example, I fully intend to read Twilight  just to see what the fuss is about, and on the other side of the literary coin I enjoyed reading The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes because it is so important to have at least some grasp on the zeitgeist (I hope it doesn't hurt Barnes to know that I wrote about him in the same sentence as Twilight!). 

So I'm happy with this blog, and I am happy to have reached the 100th, or 101st post. I fully intend this blog to get to 500, or even 1000 posts! I'm glad I blog, and I'm glad I'm where I am in the blogosphere, I've found some lovely people who I've learned a lot from. 


  1. Cheers and a happy 101st to you, o! I'm very happy I met you.

    Also, I'm sorry to see you lost your cat. Heart-breaking, and nothing I can say makes a difference. Just know I care.


  2. What a nice and honest 101st post! (Pointing out the 101st is much more original than the corny 100th anyway!)
    I can totally relate to your momentary frustration even if that's not much comfort to you. In my head I've been pondering dozens of blog posts but have given up writing them before even starting because I am convinced that they will be stupid and boring anyway (what a cheerful mood I'm in!).
    I'm also sharing your chunkster problem and that IS frustrating...
    But nevermind, I am so very glad you started blogging because since I first tumbled upon your blog you have been a constant inspiration for me. Without you I would never have started my own blog and would probably never have kept up my resolution to focus on reading classics, two things without which my life would be decidedly emptier today.
    So three cheers for you! :D

  3. I'm glad you are blogging too. You are so smart and cool.

  4. Thanks Jillian :) xxx

    Cassandra - I'm sure your posts won't be stupid or boring, but I do know how you feel. I just wrote one completely off the cuff, and I'm cringing a bit, but right now I'm a bit too focused on trying to make stuff perfect. I don't think anyone expects perfection from any blog/

    Judaye - That's very kind, thank you :)



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