Since my Harry Potter re-evaluation I have been reading all bar one of the books. This dose of fiction has been something of a welcome break as the last four or so books I have read have been biographies (Ian Kershaw’s ‘Hitler’ and Alison Weir’s ‘Elizabeth: The Queen’). However, as I need a break from Hogwarts I have reverted back to type and started to again read biographies.
First was Mary Kenny’s excellent “Germany Calling: A personal biography of William Joyce” and now it is Alison Weir’s “King and Court: Henry VIII”.
This is not intended to show off how erudite I may think I am but, to highlight a point. I want to be a writer, I think most people who blog do, or are one. So I should be concentrating on fiction. Learning through example the craft, pacing and all that other literary jazz. Why then, am I always drawn to the real?
For me, the biographies of the famous or infamous can illuminate the world we inhabit and reinforce the events of today. Obviously, fiction shines a light on the world and makes it seem different. But a well written biography can, in most cases, explain why people acted the way they did. This shines a light on the human condition. For me, good poetry and good fiction can do this. A biography is more pertinent and more accessible.
Maybe it is a lack of imagination on my part. I could be failing to see the Qudditch pitches and Quaffles as clearly as I see the battles and courts of times past.
Of course there is also the argument that says simply: read what you want to read and that will inspire the fiction and the poetry. Maybe a book such as Hilary Mantel’s “Wolf Hall” will combine the two perfectly. That is then, what I should read next. Her “Beyond Black” was great… but then, this can lead to the so-called realms of Historical Fiction and all of its pitfalls.
However, the deciding factor could well be whatever is on offer at Easons when I go in to buy a book.