Sunday, 16 February 2014

Quiet please! It’s reading time!

Full title: How to Read a Book
Author: Kelly Ana Morey
Publisher: Awa Press (Wellington: 2005)
Genre: Non fiction, autobiography
Attributes: 115 pages, paperback, printed on chlorine-free Munken paper

On the scale of zero to one: ZERO (i.e. borrowed from local library)

Kelly Ana Morey’s How to Read a Book is not a book about reading but a book about being a writer who reads. And one who writes, then reads, then writes again. And so on. There’s a long, very long (almost two pages long) list of her wish list, where one can see not only a writer’s choices, but also her searches. Mostly moderns and post-moderns feature in her reading list. At various points in the book she admits that she’s after the moderns in particular. That’s because, as she says so all could hear,
"like most readers, I’m simply searching for my own species."
Writers (especially the ones who are beginning or thinking of doing it in the near future) may find inspirational stuff galore. Many sentences (not only in the sense of grammatical units but also as verdicts, decrees, short pronouncements, even punishments – why not?) have the texture of aphorisms. It often feels like Kelly Ana Morey has written them with the intention of being memorable.
She often is. As here:
“I live to bleed myself dry during rewrites. Change after change. Page after page.”

No, this is not Kelly Ana Morey. But she has a lot to say about riding horses (and reading books)
(c) National Library of New Zealand
But there’s one thing to keep in mind. Not everything in this book is about what writers do or think. A lot is, in fact, about what the writer Kelly Ana Morey writes and thinks. This is, by all the settlements of the genre, a writer’s memoir. An autobiographical collage of moments when she encourages herself to admit things most mortals (and especially readers) refuse to admit: how long her reading list is, how little she likes writing poetry, drama, short stories, and many other things.
It’s worth reading this book with the mind open to the whims and sassiness of a writer who keeps herself within the confines of her own writing. Here one can learn that high horses and ivory towers are negotiable entities. Or, at least, one can rejoice in the recognition of one’s own weaknesses.
The ultimate conclusion: It’s so good to read when you have only your own sincerity to worry about!