Well only in a literary way, still just the usual ones wandering (or hopping) around chez dovegrey, but having made a concerted effort to read some of these Big Scary Male Authors in 2011 I have been looking much more closely at my reading trends.
This being me I'd thought about this project and found a buddy or two to do it with but had no firm plans in mind, very relaxed, it will just happen. Kirsty at Other Stories was on board and I had someone else in mind too but first I had to persuade them to start a blog. It's been a long old haul people, drip-drip-drip... you know you want to... you read so much and write such lovely comments on my blog... of course people will want to read it.... you write sermons every week a bit more won't hurt.
By now you may have guessed who is the latest addition to the blogging firmament.
I've allowed a few weeks to account for mastery of technology and finding of blog feet but I can't wait a minute longer ...you will thank me for this I know ....big drum roll.... RevCherylReads
Kirsty, Cheryl and I are going to read who we like within this project but it's a new direction for me to even consider because to be honest I pay little attention to author gender. I just read what I want to read when I want to read it, but I have always been under the impression that I am reading and writing about considerably more books by female authors than male, so no one was more surprised than me when I did last year's tally. It does work out at a 45% - 55% split in favour of women authors, but nothing like as unbalanced as I had expected.
So having embarked on my foray into the writing of Philip Roth I had been searching around for a new-to-me UK male writer to add in. One to offer some home comforts, some familiar turns of phrase and scenery too, because at the moment I'm having to do things like imagine what the New Jersey Turnpike looks like for real. The dissipation of a decades-old image has been quite a trauma because I only know of it in the vaguest of terms thanks to Paul Simon and his song America, first heard on my Bookends LP bought for 24/6d in 1968.
...Cathy I'm lost I said though I knew she was sleeping
I'm empty and aching and I don't know why
Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike
They've all come to look for America
Like most of the nation I think I studied Lord of the Flies for O Level and though a desert island is hardly familiar surroundings the book itself feels more than familiar having left the lasting impression I suspect it was meant to leave at that age. I am quite excited about how I will interpret Ralph and Piggy some forty years (and a little bit) on, and with a whole load of work and home-related child development experience tucked under my belt. I have a copy of the book in a beautiful Folio edition so I will give that an airing.
But I haven't read a single other book by William Golding so when a box of William Golding arrived last week I did the usual. It would be far too sensible and orderly to start at the beginning of the Golding oeuvre and work through each book in turn identifying changing style and writerly development, so having calmed myself down at the sight of a box of new books I then plumped for the one with a nice cover.
I made a start on The Spire and, with no idea what to expect, to my surprise I couldn't stop reading. I'm reminded of elements of The Corner That Held Them by Sylvia Townsend Warner and that most of the books I have read about religious communities have been by and about women, so already I am fascinated at the male spin on this, and the inevitability that the spire would assume phallic significance, which dawned on me only moments before William Golding confirmed it.
So whilst I'm avoiding the word 'challenge' this year for all its connotations of 'contest' and 'difficulty' and 'must', I'm not avoiding the words 'enjoy' and 'variety' and 'new reading trails' with like-minded blog friends and all of you, so any William Golding fans out there? Any recommends?