I Miss Being 11 Years Old…

aged 11

I went out for a run this morning, and thought about what my 11 year old self would think about meeting the woman she’d grow up to be ten whole years later.

When I was 11, I started secondary school, going to the local special needs secondary school in the area. I had my first ever crush (who I’ve cropped out of the above image because privacy), and went on a medieval school trip in costume, where the above photograph was taken.

I was also the most avid reader.

Considering the childhood I had, it was better to escape into a little world of my own for a few hours rather than face the reality of my situation, that I was in foster care, autistic and being bullied both at home and school.

So I read a LOT of books.

And I’d get through at least five books a week. I read anything I could get my hands on, be it for children or for adults. I even read Shakesphere, Dickens. Breaktimes would be spent either in the school library reading Anne Frank’s diary, or in the playground tucked under a tree with The Butterfly Lion by Michel Morpurgo. I’d go to Hogwarts with Harry, Ron and Hermione, time travel through Horrible Histories, walking through the streets of Heaven with Mel Beebie and her angel friends.

So, it’s safe to say that I read an awful lot, so many I can’t remember them all.

I also wrote a lot of stories. I wrote about the ‘Rainbow Agents’, where each of my classmates and I were representing a colour of the rainbow and saving the world from all sorts of crazy things that I can’t really remember anymore. It was ten years ago!

But what about now, ten years later? Would 11 year old Heidi recognise herself in me?

To be perfectly honest, I don’t think she would.

Since then, I’ve been studying, growing up, working, making friends and having relationships. I have a flat to care for, bills to pay, family to spend time with…

And I’m expected to write as well as look after my general health and well being.

Which doesn’t give me much time to sit down and read several books a week, or write a whole story in under ten minutes. Or the energy and motivation.

I spend too much time outside of studying, trying to manage my home and seeing other people dossing around on the internet and playing Sims 4 instead of reading and writing. It’s really not the best of habits, when I could be totally spending that time curled up with a book or jotting down a few lines of prose.

So, as of today, I’m going to start reading one book a week, and writing something daily, even if it’s something I end up scrunching up and throwing away. It also means actually blogging more often than I have been, and generally just being more focused on my goals.

I do miss being 11 years old. But I would like to think that she’d be proud of me ten years later, and starting to read again should help.

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Books, Books, Books…

They are a major part of my life. I’m not even kidding! When most women buy wine and shoes, I purchase books and tea, maybe some cosy jumpers too…

I saw an article about books affecting relationships, and about these two women’s reactions to books changing their relationships in various ways. I thought I’d respond.

I’ve even gotten into fights with partners over my reading habit. My ex told me I should stick to the TV, he did so happily, so why was that an issue? That sucked. I’d buy him books for Christmas, and he’d pretend to read a chapter before sending it on to a charity shop a week later. Another partner disputed my choice of reading material (“do you read anything post classics era? You know, published recently?”). And one moaned when I started reading Chris Ryan novels so I’d fit in with his literary discussions on the playground.

But I fell in love as a result of reading. When Matt was staying over one time, in my old halls, I had to leave him for an hour as I had an appointment with my mentor. When I got back, he was curled up with a book. He wasn’t even disturbed by my entrance, as I kicked off my heels and shimmied out of a little dress to climb back into bed. A man who reads is a man I shall attempt to be with forever!

And, we talk about books all the time! We go through the set novels on my lists for university, as well as general books we loved as children, teenagers, young adults. Even books we read for pleasure get discussed and reviewed verbally, exploring themes and ideas of the writers, coming up with our own theories.

I’m just hoping I get books for Christmas!

SOS!

Guys, I have a problem….

I actually haven’t got anything to read! I’ve read all my books in my personal collection, and I don’t want to read any of the novels in my reading lists otherwise it will ruin it for when I get around to studying them. I’ve just polished off Memoirs of a Geshia, for, like, the second time, so am getting desperate!

I always like to have a novel that is unrelated to my studies in my uni bag, it’s just nice to be able to grab it whilst waiting for a lecture, or when sat in a coffee shop before work, and is brilliant on long bus journeys when I go to Bristol, as well as when I go on the train back to Hampshire. In order to be a writer, in my opinion, one must also be a regular reader, always having at least one book on the go.

So, if there is a book you think I should really have in my life, now is the time to tell me! 

Book Tours #1

There is a thing about bookshelf tours on YouTube, but I don’t have the resources to make a video so will have to do my version as blog posts. The thing is, I don’t own a bookcase. So I have a pile by my bedside table, as well as lots of boxes full of books next to my bed. This tour consists of the pile next to the bedside table.

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So, here it is! It’s got various bits and bobs, to be honest. All my Tudor/Mary Rose reference books are in this pile, among other things. Okay, ready to zoom in? Keep all arms, legs and other items/body parts inside the cart, and away we go!

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Some of my Mary Rose reference books, including my volunteer charter and a book about the correspondence from the ship during her 34 years in service prior to her sinking, a rather intriguing book.

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And my bartending guide, a recipe book of cocktails, useful for university, especially freshers week…

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And some novels and a bargain cookbook my foster carer got me for Christmas last year…

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My copy of Me and Mr Darcy sitting next to a careers guide and Geshia of Gion, one of my favourite autobiographies.

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More Mary Rose books (the one that is most clear was written by Margaret Rule, one of the head archaeologists on the main Mary Rose excavation of ’79-’82). Also some witchcraft and Austen books. And Secret Diary of a Call Girl (I bought it after watching the TV show aged 15).

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A Mills and Boon (military special, cringe), The Hobbit, and American Star, which is apparently the book my mother was reading when she went into labour with me in the hospital. And a cupcake recipe book which also ought to be handy at university.

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Ah, my bumper book of English Literature. I’ve had this since secondary school, as I bought it from the school library sale. Another Mary Rose book, the Tudor Historical romance that wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever read, and that Paul o Grady autobiography that seems to get into each shot on this tour.

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My special copy of all Shakespeare’s plays, given to me by my paternal grandparents for my 16th birthday, along with my copy of Lies to Tell Small Kids and a few witchy books.

So, that’s the tour! At some point I’ll work on another book tour post, but, for now, that’ll do.

Abandon a Book?

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I was reading through my feed, when I came across The Bookshelf of Emily J’s wonderful post on why one abandons a book, with the help of this rather facinating diagram from Goodreads (I really ought to get into Goodreads more).

I will admit I started to read 50 Shades for a giggle. Seriously, many hours were spent in the college Student Union HQ reading out particularly rude bits, with the rules that one had to keep a straight face and a posh English accent at all times. I sucked at this game! But I gave up simply because the writing was so AWFUL!!! Seriously, a virginial thirteen year old Bieliber would write a better sex scene! That’s what made the game so bloody hilarious!

I also read Wicked, and it is one of my favourite books of all time, as I relate to Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, and the way she was persecuted for being different to the other people of Oz. However, when I first read it, aged 15, it took me a good two goes to read it properly, and to enjoy the story. This is due to the fact that it is a hard book to read, due to the rather heavy way the political themes are used in the novel. I also found that the language used in the novel was rather too grown up, and sophisticated for me, so I had to adopt a dictionary to have alongside me as I read this book. I do love the book, but I will freely admit to preferring the West End Musical far more.

I will abandon a book for the following reasons:

1. If the plot becomes too predictable
2. When a character gets really annoying
3. I simply don’t have the time to read the book properly as it might be a heavy read
4. Historically inaccuracies in historical fiction
5. Plots that don’t make any sense whatsoever

And the point where I will unceremoniously send a book flying towards the rejection pile ready for the charity shops varies.

For example, I only read two chapters of ‘Emma’ by Jane Austen, before I got peeved off with the title character, and literally tossed the book across the room. However, I struggled boldly with Catch 22, as a penfriend wanted me to read it to see what I thought, and couldn’t bear it much longer (16 year olds should never be persuaded to read such heavy literature). I got towards the halfway point, before admitting defeat, and used Wikipedia to help me find out the ending so that I could give my friend feedback.

Good writing and a comfortable weight of reading makes a good novel, in my opinion. Witty characters that don’t wind you up with sappyness (Yes, Marianne of Sense and Sensibility, I’m talking about you!) or their irritating and condescending attitudes to other people (Emma, don’t think I’m letting you off the hook!). Not forgetting of course enough description of events, scenery and people/their appearance without being distracting to the plot…