Annabel Pitcher Talks To Bookbag About Her New Year Resolutions

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Annabel Pitcher Talks To Bookbag About Her New Year Resolutions

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Summary: We fell for Annabel Pitcher when we read My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece and we knew that she was one of our favourite authors when we finished Ketchup Clouds. She popped into Bookbag Towers to tell us about her New Year resolutions
Date: 12 January 2013

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External links: Author's website



Resolutions

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As the fireworks exploded over London on New Year’s Eve, I did what I always do on the stroke of midnight: I put down my half-full glass of bubbly and vowed not to touch another drop for the rest of the evening. It might sound rather boring, but I love to wake up on the first morning of the new year, fresh and ready to go. You see, unlike a lot of people, I am really rather fond of January 1st. All that promise. All those brand new opportunities.

Pen and paper in hand over breakfast the next morning, I made a long list of resolutions. Being a target-driven person, this is something I enjoy doing. When I am old, I want to look back on my life and know that I got the very best out of it, which means I tend to live quite self-consciously. I hate the thought that time might pass without me really doing anything of any worth, so I often write down the things that I want to achieve. It can be anything, from seeing more of my friends to running a half marathon, and January 1st is always the most inspirational time of year to take stock and set new goals.

And so it was that I came to think about what I really wanted to do in 2013. I scribbled down the usual stuff – make sure I get my five-a-day, exercise four times a week, limit my alcohol intake – but then I wrote something that surprised me.

Read more books.

Until those words popped out of my pen, I had no idea that my lack of reading was bothering me. But then, as I thought about it more carefully, I realised that I hadn’t read very much at all since becoming a full-time author. I don’t know. I just find it difficult to want to stare at words on a page when I have spent all day doing the same thing. In 2012, I was so caught up in writing Ketchup Clouds that I only had room in my brain for my own story, which makes the books that I did occasionally read all the more special. Sometimes, I’d get swept away in a novel, despite myself. Even though I had a looming writing deadline, I’d pick up a book for a few minutes then still find myself reading it, hours later, unable to put it down. Room by Emma Donoghue was one such book. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness was another. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green was yet one more.

But, for every book that immediately grips you and demands to be read from the very first page, there are those that require a bit more effort, but are worth it in the end. These are the novels that I no longer read: the classics, which can seem so quaint and lack the instant gratification of modern texts; or the books with central characters that take a little longer to get to know; or those with more challenging narrative styles. I miss these novels. And I miss the discipline of reading – the feeling of persevering with a text despite initial reservations because you trust the author and know that there will be a satisfying pay-off in the final pages.

That’s why resolution nine on my list is to make sure that I read for thirty minutes a day, before I go to sleep. It might sound rather pedantic to give myself a set time to pick up a book, but if I don’t, I know I will forget to fit it in. Oh, and resolution ten is to make sure I get to the end of any novel that I start. Some of the best books that I have ever read are those that cast a slow magic, that gripped me so gently that I barely noticed it at first but, when it came to the last chapter, I realised it had got under my skin. These are the type of books I want to reacquaint myself with this year. I cannot wait.