Since last week, I’ve jumped straight from David Mitchell’s brilliant, The Bone Clocks, to Jostein Gaarder’s equally absorbing Sophie’s World. (The original was published in Norway in 1991 and the English version later in the decade, but it was a big hit at the time.)
Both of these books embody what I love about reading – the stories encourage you to think a little more about the world, and in a different way than you did before. You might say, well – surely all books do that? Okay, yes, but not all to the same degree.
It’s possibly also why I love fantasy books so much, as they challenge readers to consider something outside of their normal world view – to explore beyond what they know, even if there’s no ‘real’ possibility that such things could possibly happen in their own lives… Fantasy stories sometimes get a bad rap, but myths, fairy stories and the fantastical creations of people like Tolkien and Pratchett push the boundaries in writing and challenge us to think more creatively.
I’ve slackened a bit in my own writing this week (!), due to the aftermath of Easter and getting stuck back into work, but I think my stories and poems will be laced with the spirit of what I’ve just lately read and am currently reading. Sophie’s World is a crash-course in philosophy, written by an author who taught the subject, but the ancient ideas it discusses are embedded within a fictional narrative and it’s so far proving to be excellent reading (perhaps particularly as I almost studied philosophy at university!).
I always want my own tales to challenge the reader and make them ponder the story afterwards. Philosophy, to me, is the epitome of open-mindedness and as I delve deeper into Sophie’s World, I’m excited about what will rub off on me. 🙂
PS Some more good news this week regarding my poetry… My poem, Spinning Shadows, will be published in the next edition of the Northern Ireland literary journal, Abridged, so I’m very happy about that! If you read the link above which describes the issue (Take Me Home) that my poem will appear in, it fittingly ties in with what I’ve just been writing about here…