What to read and what not to read?

Fortunately for writers, taste varies enormously. There are those who are simply seduced by a book cover (highlighting the importance of cover/jacket designs). Others, of course, have their favourite authors and can’t wait for their next publication. This, quite naturally, leaves new-fledged writers floundering. Luckily, there will always be the curious (count me in) – lured by the book title, back cover blurb; sometimes the appeal or reputation of the author, and of course, the subject matter. I often read book reviews and am amazed at the variance of opinion and taste lurking in readers. Take the much discussed book: James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses.’ Why was I not surprised that Stephen Fry thought it “One of the greatest masterpieces of modern history” and “wise, warm, witty, affirmative in nature…” (he is, after all, a brilliant intellectual whose taste runs parallel with a universe that I, for one, don’t inhabit). Further down the list were hugely differing opinions on the work. “Experimental and completely unreadable” from one person, and “Pretentious hogwash” from another. You pays your money and takes your choice… I admit to making a huge effort to read ‘Ulysses’ many years ago, and tried again on another occasion, but just couldn’t ‘get hooked.’ I hate being defeated and rarely abandon a book I start to read; maybe I will try again one day. On second thoughts, perhaps not. There’s not enough time to read all the books I really fancy reading.

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