All items: Leo Tolstoy

Each time I return to Middlemarch l find it has changed; on first reading it was the story of Dorothea, nowadays she has to share my interest with less glamorous characters.
It is sometimes hard to distinguish between memorable books and inspiring books. I remember books for various reasons, often to do with characterisation and dialogue.
I also aspire to read a play a day, which is unrealistic if you are a commissioned writer with a Netflix subscription, and a poem a day, which is more achievable.
Now I didn't need him to read to me anymore, that our sitting down side by side, and his joy in reading to me, was ended; guilt then, infests my reading habits from their beginning.
Choosing books indiscriminately by weight as much as content, I wanted to find books that were heavy enough to keep me going until my visit the following week and I didn't risk wasting my precious allocation of books on something slim.
Material possessions fail to quell his self-loathing or heal, or avert, the divisions and disasters abundant in his world; reading the book as a student in Thatcher's London it subtly but perfectly reflected the culture around me.
I don't know exactly when I gave up pretensions to being a serious reader, but the crime and children's books scattered around my bed indicate my current diet; I justify them on the grounds that I write both.
Plot is often the hardest thing to get right when starting a novel, argues Beatrice Colin, but surely (as F. Scott Fitzgerald is said to have remarked) plot and character are inseparable? She outlines some of her own strategies for getting to grips with the story.
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