early new year’s resolution: actually utilise this blog.
In a bid to save money, I’ve been re-reading some of my old favourite books instead of bulk buying a load of new books I have no room for.
I’m currently re-reading ‘The Scar’ by China Mieville, with whom I have a love-hate relationship. I love his worldbuilding, his ideas, his audacity. I love the complexity of his stories and the sheer scope of his creativity. I don’t love his flagrant abuse of the thesaurus and the way he occasionally bludgeons the reader over the head with his personal politics (see: ‘The Iron Council’). But ‘The Scar’ is a beautiful piece of work. I lent it to my husband, who is not much of a reader, and in a matter of days he was hooked. There’s a section of the book in which he describes the slow, protracted suffering of the avanc – an enormous trans-dimensional whale-like creature – and it’s genuinely haunting, quickly switching to downright terrifying when the bathysphere the POV characters are in is attacked.
I also recently finished re-reading Angela Carter’s ‘The Bloody Chamber’. I’ve always thought of this book as my introduction to short fiction. I’d read short stories before, but until I read ‘The Bloody Chamber’ I’d never realised just how powerful a medium it could be.
I first read this collection at university, having been recommended it by a former English teacher. I was absolutely spellbound: an unapologetically dark, bloody, sensual retelling of familiar fairytales, sometimes aggressively sexual but – importantly, I think – offering its (mostly) female protagonists a sense of agency largely absent from the original versions. I’m sad that I never got to become an English teacher, not least because I feel like this ought to be a part of the curriculum.
The next book I’m going to revisit will be Stephen King’s ‘Rose Madder’. I’m off to Reykjavik next weekend – it’ll keep me company on the plane.