The Best Laid Plans….

Sometimes, life just doesn’t go the way you want it to. I had my schedule of posts all worked out, not just in my head but on paper even – two a week, right through to the end of October. A nice neat list, absolutely essential because I’ve decided to pick up a study programme this term and in order to fit everything in I need to be organised. Then blow me, if I didn’t go and hit two books in a row that I just didn’t want to write about. The first was actually a very good book, one that we discussed in my Monday Reading Group and that we all thought was excellent. I don’t know quite why I didn’t want to blog about it, possibly because the author was coming at life from such a totally different point of view to mine that while I could appreciate the quality of the writing I would have found it hard to say anything in agreement with the perspective that he was taking. In fact, the more I think about it the more I find the novel actually to be morally offensive; which is interesting, I hadn’t realise I felt so strongly in that area.

The second was a different kettle of fish altogether. It was a book I had requested from the publisher because I’ve always enjoyed the author’s writing in the past and was expecting this one to give me the same amount of pleasure. Halfway through, however, I was, well I was going to say beginning to change my mind, but actually I had already very definitely changed it. It wasn’t simply that I didn’t like any of the characters, you can no more expect to like everyone you meet in a book than you can everyone you meet in real life, but I couldn’t engage with them. I simply didn’t believe they existed and a large part of that was because the narrative voice kept me at such a distance. It was a bit like looking at events through the wrong end of a telescope. So instead of writing a blog post for today I had to write to the publisher instead and say I’m very sorry but I can’t review this book because you wouldn’t like what I have to say about it. I am going to be fascinated to read other people’s reviews when they start to appear.

All this has come at a time when I really needed life to go like clockwork. (I know, what was I thinking?)  I have one course starting this coming Wednesday and another at the beginning of October and they are both with institutions I‘ve not worked with before and for which I have paid out real money! Finding my way round two very different sets of regulations is proving interesting! Past experience has taught me that once I’ve got the first couple of weeks behind me the level of panic that is currently coursing through my veins will subside and I’ll be able to get back onto something more of an even keel. Unfortunately, I don’t seem to be paying much heed to past experience at the moment.  So, for now I’ve gone back to my children’s literature and I’m going to satisfy myself over the weekend with a bit of re-reading. There’s no point in pushing either the reading or the blogging if it isn’t coming naturally.  The Bears and I are enjoying re-visiting Lucy M Boston’s wonderful 1954 novel, The Children of Green Knowe. Toseland Bear is particularly excited because he shares his name with one of the main characters and I have promised that if I write a post about it I will put his picture up as well.  Have a good weekend. 

27 thoughts on “The Best Laid Plans….

  1. Liz September 12, 2020 / 12:13 pm

    I can totally relate to this, Ann – that feeling of getting all excited about forthcoming reading+blogging plans, followed by the sinking disappointment when a book turns out to be not as good as expected/not one to write about for whatever reason. At least you know you are among sympathetic friends here, and always a good plan to retreat into comfort reading. Have a lovely weekend with the Boston. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Café Society September 12, 2020 / 12:41 pm

      Thanks Liz. Boston + tea + cake should go a long way towards putting things to rights.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Liz September 12, 2020 / 1:19 pm

        Ooh yes sounds perfect!


  2. Julé Cunningham September 12, 2020 / 1:08 pm

    It’s interesting how some books lend themselves to blogging and others don’t. I struggle with writing about books that seem almost perfect; I feel as though I can’t possibly do them justice. How wonderful to be able to look forward to the courses! I hope all the practicalities work out smoothly and you thoroughly enjoy them.


    • Café Society September 12, 2020 / 4:40 pm

      Thanks Julé. It’s a long time since I was at the studying rather than the teaching end. I shall have to watch my behaviour!


  3. Jeanne September 12, 2020 / 2:37 pm

    I agree that there’s no sense in pushing the reading or the blogging if you’re not feeling it. That way madness lies.


    • Café Society September 12, 2020 / 4:41 pm

      Yes, Jeanne, the moment it becomes a chore you need to stop for a bit.


  4. Margaret September 12, 2020 / 4:00 pm

    I go through phases when I’d rather read than write about what I’ve read – that’s where I am right now.
    I hope you enjoy your courses. I’ve tried a couple of FutureLearn ones recently that were disappointing, mainly because they weren’t what I was expecting. I should read the descriptions more carefully.


    • Café Society September 12, 2020 / 4:42 pm

      I have had mixed fortunes with FutureLearn mainly, I think, because they are so bitty – no continuity from one course to the next. Also they attract so may participants that getting involved in the discussions is practically impossible.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. BookerTalk September 12, 2020 / 4:03 pm

    Of course you realise that you now have us all agog to know which two books generated such strong reactions 🙂
    But since i suspect you’re going to keep mum on that question, I’ll ask you another – what courses are you joined up to? You have a knack of finding good ones…


    • Café Society September 12, 2020 / 4:46 pm

      I’m doing a course in critical reading with Oxford which looks very interesting, but then circumstances forced me to do a rethink about what I want to do long term and so I’ve signed up for the arts and humanities access course with the OU. If I like the way they work and I can keep my mouth shut about the first assignment which basically asks me to explain my Masters thesis in 150 words(!) I shall think about doing more with them.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. kaggsysbookishramblings September 12, 2020 / 4:32 pm

    Bookish plans often go awry, don’t they? But I particularly hate it when a book I expect to like turns out to be a major disappointment. However, revisiting Green Knowe is bound to be a real tonic – I should really do so myself!


  7. A Life in Books September 12, 2020 / 4:32 pm

    I share Karen’s itch to know what those two titles are but I’ll just wish you a quiet and restorative weekend. I hope Wednesday proves rewarding.


  8. Cathy746books September 12, 2020 / 4:48 pm

    Sometimes if I really love a book I find it even harder to write a review! Hope you have a lovely weekend x


    • Café Society September 12, 2020 / 4:55 pm

      Thank you Cathy. Next week is looking pretty horrendous so I am relaxing while I have the chance.


  9. Laila@BigReadingLife September 12, 2020 / 5:01 pm

    Good luck with your courses. I am just as much of a “mood blogger” as I am a “mood reader” so I understand about not feeling it. Don’t stress.


  10. Sandra September 13, 2020 / 8:28 am

    I’ve come to accept that I can’t blog to plan, Ann, but it still frustrates me. Good luck with the courses, especially the OU course. As a long time graduate from the OU I’m always interested in what’s happening with them. I took the arts and humanities foundation course but it will have changed beyond recognition now.


    • Café Society September 13, 2020 / 8:33 am

      Thanks, Sandra. As an ex-brick university lecturer I’m really interested to see how distance learning at this level works. I’m also interested to see if I can keep my thoughts to myself if I think they could be doing something better!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. alibrarylady September 13, 2020 / 8:31 am

    I understand this and welcome reading your point of view. Sometimes even when I’ve enjoyed a book I don’t feel the desire to write about why that is. I am intrigued to know which books now though! Good luck with the courses, I would love to hear more about them please.


  12. Julia's books September 13, 2020 / 4:13 pm

    I can really identify with this. I am currently reading a book that has had wonderful reviews and won prizes, but I think is really quite, if not exactly poor, underwhelming! I’ll finish it of course,and am hoping it will get better, but I’m not sure I will review it on my blog.


    • Café Society September 14, 2020 / 4:33 pm

      Don’t give way to the guilt, Julia. I always feel terrible if I don’t blog about a book; I’m trying to get over it.


  13. smithereens September 18, 2020 / 1:09 pm

    I find your reaction about the second book very wise, I’m not always capable of such restraint (I accept review copies at their own risk, I will not thrash a book, I prefer to DNF in that case). Regarding the first book, I am very very intrigued, and I still somehow wish you’d write about it some day.


    • Café Society September 22, 2020 / 5:04 pm

      For me that second was definitely a book that had been published because of who the author was. I don’t think a new writer would have had it accepted.


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