I'm very aware that I haven't blogged for a long time - apologies for that. Rarely, for me, I haven't had a great deal to say. I've been at home for six weeks, recovering from an operation. Now, usually, I'm far less bored at home than I am when I'm at work, but on this occasion I haven't really been able to get out and do much. I wouldn't say I was bored, because I'm very good at amusing myself, but I am getting a little bit claustrophobic. It seems rather unfair that as soon as I've started feeling well enough to get out and about, I have to go back to work, though. I start again on Monday.

In the first week or so after my operation, I was feeling rather queasy, and reading made it worse. After that, I was simply struggling to concentrate, so I haven't been reading a great deal.

I have, however, been listening to quite a few audiobooks. I've always liked having someone read me a story, and there are lots of unabridged ones available now. There's something rather comforting about it, I think, and I also find it to be a great way of coping with insomnia. Could this be because my parents read to me when I was a child at bedtime, I wonder?

Either way, I've recently listened to The Chrysalids by John Wyndham, Elidor and The Weirdstone Of Brisingamen by Alan Garner, The Complete Ghost Stories of M.R. James and The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters. Oddly, these are all books I've read before, although admittedly I haven't read the Alan Garner or John Wyndham stories since I was a child, when I was obsessed with both authors. But I thoroughly enjoyed every one of them. Storytelling, after all, began as an oral tradition, and I think there is something in all of us that secretly likes to have a story read to them.

This is precisely why the BBC should never have axed Jackanory. Many parents don't read to their kids any more, and I'm sure there are many teachers in primary schools and so on who don't read to the class every day either. Jackanory (which, for non-British readers, was a BBC children's television programme in which an actor would read a story to children in instalments over the course of a week or so, with a slot during the after school programming that used to go out between about 4 - 5.30pm on weekdays) would probably be the only chance plenty of children get to listen to a story.

Although in reality, there are hundreds of television channels now, so they'd probably switch over to Nickelodeon and some horrible vacuous import like Hannah Montana. I honestly fear for today's children.

Anyway. I very much enjoyed my audiobooks, and I'm sure I'll be downloading more. It's funny, though - they have to be a certain kind of book, for me. Ghost stories, kids' stuff, perhaps a bit of sci-fi. I'd probably listen to, say, a Dorothy L Sayers whodunnit. But a lot of the books I read, I wouldn't dream of listening to as an audiobook.


  1. Nice to hear from you =)

    I´m a bit reluctant towards audiobooks. I hear you on the oral tradition and the comfort, but I´m so very sensitive about how it´s done. I need just the right voice to make it work and I sort of fear bad audiobook experiences, stupid I know...

    Writing: yes, anything is better than nothing, I don´t like myself when I´m not writing. I bet you write a whole lot more than me, I´m slow and short of time. And I quite often write stupid crap with fucked-up spelling and grammar (forgive thyself, forgive thyself, forgive thyself...)

    Six weeks, huh? I don´t think I really understood the severity of your operation. I´m sorry, I do hope you feel alright now.

  2. On iTunes, you can play a sample of the audiobook to check that you like the actor's voice before you buy.

    Actually, I would be willing to bet that I don't write more than you. I've been very uncreative for a very long time, partly because before I had my operation, I felt ill pretty much every single evening for about a year, which wasn't immensely conducive to writing. Also, after a day at work, it's hard - my job's a bit draining, mentally.

    Getting back into it now though, which is great. Hopefully it will continue even after I start back at work on Monday.

    The operation is usually pretty straightforward but I had a couple of complications. Fully restored to health now, though!


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