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Reading Life: 20th May 2015

A photograph of a rose

I wondered if I’d ever have enough to say to warrant another post of this type that wouldn’t be a compilation of many months; it seems I’ve been thinking about it constantly. The very act of writing and planning these posts has had an impact on my recent reading – I’m studying what I’m reading, writing more notes.

It’s likely obvious how little inspiration I’ve had recently. I’ve worried about the fact I’m running out of general topics, that I’m losing my voice. To be perfectly honest, I’ve always wanted to write in depth posts but in the past it seemed it was something I was incapable of. A dream. I can write an essay to a set question but my arguments are limited and I can’t come up with questions myself. I think this may be changing. Slowly. I’ll be posting a new sort of post in the coming weeks, longer pieces, and we’ll see how it goes, if it’s any good.

I’ve moved away from romance for the time being. It’s occurred to me I read in phases. I’m now onto classics and finding them very satisfying. The House On The Strand is set aside but I’ll get back to it, I know; for now I want to complete Anna Karenina. As I’ve said, I’ve restarted it. Reading a new translation feels like reading a whole new book.

Something that starting this new translation has shown me is that the way Tolstoy writes about Anna is down to sentiment and subtext – in other words his writing in this context transcends word choice. I can’t explain it exactly, can’t say what causes it, but Anna is as alluring to read about as it sounds the characters find her. If Anna was in the room I’d be in awe, too, just like the characters. She comes to life.

In addition to the Tolstoy I’ve started The Awakening. Notes aplenty. It’s a similar story with Anne Somerset’s Queen Anne (Stuart), though in this case I’m not sure I want to continue (overly-biased historian). These books have me looking into women’s studies, I almost want to create a commonplace book just for the quotes they offer.

A window shopping expedition means I’ve picked out my next few classics. I’m looking to concentrate on America: Tender Is The Night, The Bell Jar, Breakfast At Tiffany’s, Catcher In The Rye. I also flicked through Mrs Dalloway and Orlando to get a feel for Woolf. The Tudor setting did it – I’ll be starting with the second.

Lastly, I’ve been on the search for a reader-friendly hand cream for a while. I’m sure you can relate: so many hand creams leave you greasy and would ruin books; I’d rarely use them. I’d use them whilst watching television, which is rare itself. I’ve been looking for a paraben-free hand cream – I used Vaseline’s intensive care, which does soak in well, but I won’t be replacing the bottle I have once done. I’ve tried Neal’s Yard – it smells nice but is incredibly expensive and not at all worth the oily residue. Now I’m trying Aveeno. It smells nice and soaks in well, and though I haven’t yet tried reading I can write and use the computer, no issues. There’s a slight sheen and that’s it.

How has your reading life been this month? And have you had problems with hand cream?



May 20, 2015, 11:59 am

Having all sorts of skin conditions, I’ve tried all sorts of creams. Aveeno is good, as is Eucerin. But not the original Eucerin, it’s way too thick. I also like Burt’s Bees.
The best thing I’ve used is shea butter in a tin from l’Occitaine. It’s not greasy, lasts forever, and can be used anywhere on your body.

Tracy Terry

May 20, 2015, 2:57 pm

Can’t beat Nivea as far as I’m concerned.

They say a change is as good as a rest so a bit of experimentation is no bad thing and if you decide you don’t like any changes you do make its easy enough to change back. I hope you feel as if you have found your new voice soon.


May 20, 2015, 3:02 pm

I am pleased to hear you are enjoying your classics reading at the moment. I have read Tender is the Night and The Bell Jar. They are thought-provoking and interesting reads, but too dark for me to say I loved them. I’ll be interested to see what you think.

I only use cosmetics and toiletries that are ‘cruelty free’ so not tested on animals. In which case I use Marks and Spencer’s home-brand hand creams (they come in a variety of scents). I can’t say I’ve noticed any oiliness.

Jenny @ Reading the End

May 24, 2015, 9:58 pm

I read in phases too, totally. I have phases of reading physical books vs. electronic ones as well — every time I go traveling, I read a ton of ebooks and then I have to go back to print for months. (Which is happening now, still, from a trip I took in February.)


May 25, 2015, 8:39 pm

I’m always impressed by your topic choices, you manage to discuss things I hadn’t thought about.

I think my reading goes in phases too, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing…. if that makes sense. I get put off reading if I stick to one genre. I’ll be interested to read what you think of Wolfe and the American authors you listed.

If you manage to find a grease free hand cream I’d like to know!



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