Sunday, 12 January 2014

The Object Of My Affection

Me, using  meg as a book rest 

Now I don't "do"new year resolutions but if I did, I would make a resolution to read more books.
I used to be an avid reader, especially when I was a boy and a teenager.
I read every animal based " autobiography" type piece going . (Gerald Durrell, James Herriot, Willard Price.) I loved Steinbeck, Gallico,  light Capote, Harper Lee's Mockingbird and the Epic Watership Down and devoured " real life"  accounts of disaster and Mayhem with some gusto before I was obsessed with the zombie apocalypse and Daryl Dixon's biceps.
As an older man, I enjoyed true crime non fiction, Patricia Cornwell before she went all weird  and the odd autobiography  when I can get hold of it ( I am reading the hilarious life story of comedienne Jennifer Saunders at the moment) .but I am generally ashamed to say that my reading habits have waned to a sudden spurt of almost 24 hour a day marathon of solid reading when I am sat on a beach in the sun on holiday.
Of course the internet has something to blame with all this.
Facts, Wikipedia , film reviews, disaster tales.....everything is available at the click of a button....everything that is but the discipline and anticipation of sitting down with some words and a story that moves you.


In the late 1980s I read a book called The Object of My Affection by Stephen McCauley . The story of the trails and tribulations of two friends George & Nina ( one gay one not) had a resonance with me and to this day I remember a quote from the story which is as clear to me now as Shakespeare is to Judi Dench

"Often, what's most attractive about a person is that part they're trying hardest to conceal, that part they think is least likable. You find out about it and it becomes a secret bond between you, something you never talk about but hold close to your heart and are continually touched by"

Yes I should read more books.

41 comments:

  1. I haven't read the book but I love that quote. (Hope you're feeling better today.)

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    1. Snotty still went to bed at .9.30 pm ( unheard of for me) and slept through until 8 am this morning

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  2. I could have written the same post. I am pleased I used to read, but reading on a screen is not evil.

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    1. I agree andrew but it IS lazy sometimes

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  3. I like the notion (in a literary way), but I wonder if there is much truth in it?

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  4. I spend WAY too much time with my nose in a book. Too many older folk I know have lost or are losing their eyesight...read now while you can my friend.

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    1. My gran used to live at the library every week she would take out a score of romances ( all in big print)

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  5. I love that quote about "unlikable" secrets. So very true.

    There was a Guardian piece the other day saying much the same thing, that obsessive use of the internet is reducing people's attention span and making them less inclined to read books. A great shame, because books are inspiring in so many different ways.

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    1. That's why I mentioned discipline Nick.... Books give you that

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  6. I think the Internet is the new medium for reading and writing. There are over 150 million active blogs in the world. Paper books will probably soon be history. I wonder if William Blake would have had his own blog? Saying that. Our house is full of books. Not that I have much patience to read them these days. Much prefer reading blogs like yours, John.

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    1. Good point Dave..thank you

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  7. I used to be a voracious reader but got out of the habit. Thanks to eBook readers, I now find it much easier to read and have taken to them like a duck to water which surprised me as I always thought part of the lure was the physical book itself. My reading tends towards dystopian, horror, crime and thrillers. I was lucky enough to acquire an iPad; when a relative upgraded hers, I got her old one. I can now read Nook and Kindle books on it. I would deem it an honour if you would allow me to give you my old Nook - together with the books on it!
    You do an awful lot for other people and it would be nice to do something for you. Your posts have made me smile, laugh out loud and have generally lifted my days. My way of saying thank you. If you agree, I'll post up my email address for contact

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  8. '...as clear to me now as Shakespeare is to Judi Dench'. Love it!
    The only time I get to read these days is just before bed. Most nights I wake with a jolt to find myself bent double over the book I'd been reading, not a word of it remembered.

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  9. I adore reading. Unfortunately I get addicted to the book and then cant stop until I have read it, I also cant start half the way through the series of books. I have to read them from start to finish.

    I also am stuck in the dystopian genre. I have read the hunger games about 5 times. its a boy with the bread thing

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  10. Your life is so busy, I don't know how you can fit in time for reading. I think you saw my blog post on what I read in 2013, and the highlighted recommendations (Jo Nesbo! Jo Nesbo!). Given that I'm (still) unemployed, I have too much time for reading - and remember, John, Reading is Fundamental! ;)

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  11. H.I. uses one of our pets as a book-rest as well. It is a stuffed toy rat which represents the darker aspects of me. This chimes with the drawing on my last post quite nicely!

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  12. I, too, have fallen under the spell of technology! My vice is audio books - checked out on line from a digital library and downloaded to my mp3 player, and I'm good-to-go. Gardening, house work, and long dog walks are far less boring while listening to a good book!
    Being read to is the height of laziness!

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  13. I like that quote.

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  14. I haven't read the book but I do recall seeing the movie... I think ... heck, the 80s was so long ago I'm probably confusing it with what the object of what I had for dinner last night.

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  15. No Kindle, or iPad, or even an iPhone for that matter, but boy, do I have books. My oldest son also has an impressive library-they shelving built just for it. We are a family of readers and we are constantly lending books to each other, or going to the library. I like Dickens, Jane Austin, Diana Gabaldon, Steven King and many more. I am currently reading Stuart McLean's stories from his Vinyl Cafe radio series. I can hear his voice in my head, just like he was reading to me :-)
    Love the book rest.

    Barb

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  16. Fabulous book rest. Love on both sides.

    cheers, parsnip

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  17. I also remember enjoying a lot The Object of my Affection.

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  18. Reading is a weakness of mine.

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  19. Good evening John,
    You have a good taste in reading. I agree that the internet and other such electronic distraction is a difficult one to pull away from in this day and age. Although Amanda has been bought a kindle for Christmas, we have both bought each other real books. Nothing like the feel, smell, and the anticipation on turning that first page...in my book! What has been your favourite read so far?

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    1. I have to say Harper Lee and Richard Adams

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  20. Funnily enough that is one of my resolutions too. Along with contacting old friends!

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    1. Mr kilner! Will ring you tomorrow night.......have been meaning too!....old mobile phone dead..so will ring you on land line. Enjoy Sherlock!
      Xxx

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  21. Mocking Bird was one of the books that my book group all gave big marks to, and I love the film. Sherlock on at the moment…I haven't understood any of it..but then I have been drinking wine! I doubt I would have got it sober! Did manage to keep up with previous episodes so not cos I am a bit drunken. Hope you are feeling better..and I like the photo of you sideways..gives a different aspect.

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    1. The last episode was a little too clever for its own good
      And I am surprised to see a season finale after only THREE episodes!

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    2. It's not just me then being stoopid

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  22. When I'm editing a book, then I don't feel like reading other books.

    Love,
    Janie

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  23. I love to read too....and make sure to steal time away for myself every morning. Over holiday break I finally read the "Dark is Rising" sequence and it was SO good! The first book is older than me so it was about time.

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  24. I am an unashamed bookaholic.
    Hope your snottiness is receding.

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  25. I love reading. If I landed on "that"desert island it would have to be eight books and one record!

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  26. Yes you should, John. As an ex-English teacher I strongly believe that there is no substitute for a good book. On the rare occasions that I find one that is 'unputdownable' I sometimes go to bed and so desperate to know what happens next that I get up again and read into the small hours.
    Hope your horrible cold is getting better and thaty Chris has not caught it.
    Incidentally, dogs make super book rests don't they?

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  27. I love true crime! Have you ever read any of Anne Rule's books?

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    1. Dead by sunset is the only one I think

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  28. Ok for the books you have read so far (ish) but as an animal lover. There are a few you could add to your library. Dare I suggest "Adam's Task" by Vicki Hearne and "When Elephants Weep"
    I hasten to add I follow your blog avidly and have liked what you have written. I was thrilled when you posted Christina's World by Andrew Wyeth . We too saw it at the MOMA in NY and have it on our bedroom wall. Print cost a few dollars frame cost £70 ! what the heck

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    1. I will look those up!
      Thank you for your kind commentsx

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  29. I read so much for work that i find i don't read much outside of work. A few years back forced myself to read 4 nonfiction books during that year, as i realised, quite sadly, i'd not read any fiction in over 10 years. Scads of how-to books and biographies, and loads of stuff for work, but none just for the sake of a good story.

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