Multitasking whilst Reading

Those of you that have been following my reading progress, and I am sure there must be at least one person out there, hang on, no, I forgot my mother doesn’t blog anymore, so it is possible that I truly am talking to myself, will be pleased to know that I have finally finished Zola’s ‘The Fortune of the Rougons’. Not before time, I hear you say, and rightly so. This book has taken me an inordinate amount of time to get through, given its limited length. There are twenty books in this series, ‘The Rougon-Macquart Cycle’, and given the speed of progress thus far, I am looking forward to a finish sometime in early 2015. I may even throw a small celebratory shindig, to which you shall all be cordially invited.

I have been pondering the reason for my slow progress and I think that it comes down to my current limited ability to multitask, when one of those tasks is reading. When I was younger this never seemed a problem. I could do almost anything and read at the same time. I could read in the car, whilst watching television, whilst eating, whilst playing the guitar, whilst walking, like I say, pretty much anything. And I did.

Now though, it seems like a much larger chunk of my limited brain capacity is required to carry out individual tasks. I need to concentrate on things more directly. I guess the reading in a car as a child was easier. Reading whilst driving is apparently considered a pretty dangerous pastime, and not one I can comfortably consider, although I have been known to read in a traffic jam. I always find that the sound of irate drivers sounding their horns lets me know that the traffic has begun to move again. Pretty handy really, as it is shit boring looking at the arse of the car in front, just to see when it starts moving.

I am working on restoring my ‘reading multitasking skills’, but I am interested in other people’s views. Does it get harder to multitask as you get older, particularly when one of those tasks is reading? Is it just a temporary blip that can be overcome? I believe that it is. Finally, what weird and wonderful things can you do whilst reading? Can you read whilst riding a unicycle or taking a shower, for example? Let me know.

Deja-Vu, Surely Not!

This may seem like deja-vu, but really it is my attempt at righting a terrible wrong that I have committed. My girlfriend, Ionia Martin of Readfulthingsblog.com, pointed out to me, in her own inimitable fashion, that the original post yesterday was an extremely strong candidate for the most boring blog post ever award. Upon re-reading it I would actually go as far as to say that it would be a runaway winner of that particular award, were there one. I have to confess that I have no recollection of having written it at all. That being said, there is still no excuse for the pain that I must have inflicted on those of you that actually managed to reach the end, and for that I apologise.

The original idea of these posts regarding my book collection, was to attempt to instill in readers the profound joy that can be experienced collecting first editions, even on a limited budget. I guess that in order to do that, the post must not put those readers instantly to sleep. I will try again.

Naked lunch cover

So without further babbling, onto this week’s book, ‘The Naked Lunch’ by William Burroughs. This beat generation novel was originally intended to be called ‘Naked Lunch’, a title that was later used prominently in the US, although ‘The Naked Lunch’ remained common in Europe. The copy that I have is a first UK edition and has a pretty cool cover, as you can see. Since I haven’t read it yet, and I will not be reading this copy, I have to say that I hope you can judge a book by its cover. If so it will be a great read.

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The boring details of this book, that I kind of like to know are, in short, that it was published in 1964 by John Calder (publishers) Ltd. Both the book and the dust cover are in pretty good condition. It is not price clipped and was originally available for 42s (shillings), I only wish that it had cost me so little, when I found it at the Cambridge book fair last year.

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This old, yellowed, newspaper clipping (above) slating William Burrough’s book ‘Nova Express’, from what looks to be the Guardian Newspaper was tucked away inside. I doubt it affects things in any material way, but is interesting.

So hopefully a few more of you actually survived until the end of this post and I do hope you will comment, even if only to say, ‘thank fuck it wasn’t as boring as last time’.

Collection Book of the Week – The Naked Lunch

Naked lunch cover

So here is part two in my series looking at the meagre contents of my collection of first edition books. For more general information please see my previous post here. So, in addition to the Enid Blyton books that we discussed, I enjoy Beat Generation authors, although I do not have many examples in my collection. I do however have a copy of the first UK edition of ‘The Naked Lunch’ by William Burroughs. Since it is only a first UK edition it is not worth anything like the original Olympia Press edition, the true first edition. It is, however, the book that I have spent the most on in my collection. This is one of my favourite collection books having a really interesting cover, although I confess I have never actually read the book itself. I do have a paperback copy that I am trying to get to.

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So the UK first edition was published in 1964 by John Calder (publishers) Ltd. This copy is in pretty good condition with solid boards and no evidence of rolling of the spine. The dust cover is in pretty good condition too, although I have just noticed a small tear at the bottom, on the back, rather annoyingly. It is not price clipped and was originally available for 42s (shillings). I purchased this at the Cambridge Book Fair in 2012, an annual event that seems to exist purely to empty my wallet, every time I go. Oh, and there are lots of very cool books there too.

Another interesting thing about this book was that when examining it I found inserted between two pages an old, yellowed, newspaper clipping about William Burroughs from what looks to be the Guardian Newspaper. I am not sure of the date of that, but it was nice to find this extra little piece of history, despite it being an article slating Burrough’s book , ‘Nova Express’.

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Hopefully this has been of some interest. Another exciting instalment next week. I am sure you can hardly contain your excitement. What shall I pick next, I wonder. Comments are always welcomed, as usual.

Chris

Still nothing to write, so another interesting reblog.

readful things blog

Really this post is about writing and expectations, but I had to make good on a threat, thus the title:)

I am going to do this entire post without swearing.

Duck it!

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So, writers…you know that place you get to after you have published your book, waited for the mass herds of millions of buyers to rush out and get it and a week later found out you’ve only had a few sales? We ALL do. This post is to remind us all why we do this in the first place. Do we write simply to sell copies? No. Chances are, if you are an author, you write because it is what you are meant to do, compelled to do and cannot help yourself.

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Ducker.

 

When you sit and focus on what you are not doing right every minute of the day, does it help with your motivation? No?…

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