The weather so far this summer has been even more crap than last year. So, how come I'm still standing with a smile on my face? Because I've been reduced to three kids this week, not the usual six. The elder ones are away on holidays with their respective dads and it's given me a real breather, not to mention reduced the food bills by a huge factor. As good as a holiday in fact.
In turn, this has allowed me to read and write up a couple of book reviews. I've taken on with writing for Verbal Arts Magazine in NI, a monthly mag that gets distributed free with the Belfast Telegraph, the Newsletter and the Derry Journal. The books they've sent me have been really entertaining, in differing ways,unexpected choices, but I can't say more until the reviews come out. One has led to an interview!
I've leaned into reviewing as it was the only module that I got a first in, up at QUB and is one of the few things I can do from home. I really enjoy putting into words exactly why I've enjoyed reading a book, as it encourages close reading of the text and forces me to really consider all angles: why the language is the way it is; why, if it's a poet, are they using that kind of form; why did the author choose this subject. Engaging stuff. I get far more inside a book when I do that, because it's an active form of reading, as opposed to a passive one, where you read, but don't engage as deeply. I'm not denigrating that sort of a read - it's actually one of my favorite things to retire to bed with something that I can skate through before sleep. But it's always enjoyable to come across really good writing.