Oh, last week was rough, my dears. If you follow me on Twitter, you know I was engaged in copy edit reviews. This is my least favorite part of being a writer–even less enjoyable than writing synopses, if I’m honest. The reason I dislike it so is that it calls upon my weakest skills. Reviewing copy edits means reading slowly and thoroughly, considering every word, every query by the copy editor, making decisions about whether to accept their suggestions or ignore them. The problem is, I don’t read that way. I am a fast reader who tends to skim a word rather than see every letter. I am prone to missing mistakes; I’d make a wretched copy editor myself. In order to keep my focus, I have to divide the manuscript into manageable bites. I can usually get through 40 pages before things start to blur.
When I finish that day’s chunk of manuscript, I try to disengage entirely. My brain is usually not functioning well at that point and my eyes are tired, so I watch TV for awhile–something like “RuPaul’s Drag Race” where I can just zone out. After an hour or two of that, I’m still too muddled to read anything taxing, so I turn to comfort reading. Here are the things that fall under that heading:
*Magazines. I love Faerie and a host of English travel and history periodicals; anything with lush photographs. While I read, I pull tear sheets for inspiration.
*Children’s lit. Not dystopian YA, mind. I mean classic children’s books. Mary Poppins, Eloise, Dorrie the Little Witch. Anything that reminds me of my childhood. Even better if it has lavish description of food, particularly teatime.
*Royal biographies. Not the historical sort, thick with footnotes and written by historians. I’m talking the gossipy stuff about contemporary royals. I know a ridiculous amount about the queen’s corgis…
*Agatha Christie mysteries. As long as I’ve been reading Christie–almost 40 years–I’m still finding books I haven’t encountered before. It’s oddly consoling, particularly if Poirot is around. (I have managed to get through all the Marple stories.)
*Home memoirs. Managing a stately home, rehabbing a property in a foreign country–it’s all good stuff. I’m wildly interested in other people’s domesticity. There’s also a fair dose of schadenfreude when I read because I can console myself that even if I’m feeling entirely depleted, at least I’m not trying to organize a plumber in rural Umbria. I’m also very fond of books written by servants in the great houses, particularly in the 1920s and ’30s. I love the peek behind the green baize door into a world that doesn’t really exist any more.