Are You An Interactive Reader?

Books are amazing! They are full of windows into other worlds and into other people’s souls. Children learn so much about society and grammar, as well as how to write creatively themselves, by reading a good variety of books.

At school, teachers generally find interactive ways to connect with stories and for children to gain a better understanding of the materials they are reading through drama, art and music. As adults we tend to do this much less but I think that finding ways to interact with the books that you read can make the activity of reading even more enjoyable as well as engaging our brains, keeping those synapses active.

Here are a few questions to consider. As usual, I have noted my own responses underneath each one. I look forward to reading your thoughts on these.

1) Do you ever look into the subjects or locations covered within your reading books?

For me, if I come across a new subject or something that I have less awareness of, I quickly open up Google and have a look for more information about that particular topic. This can stem from a tricky word which has intrigued me or even an exotic place that I’ve never heard of. If a book is set on a Greek island, I want to visualise it by opening a map of that location, for example. I want to know the terrain and check out a few pictures taken on that island too.

2) Have you ever unpicked a story with friends?

Many people join book clubs for this very reason. Discussing a book as you travel through its pages can be fun and fascinating. Taking in the opinions of others and engaging in a good debate about the gritty issues uncovered can be satisfying.

Although I never found a book club to join locally, I often read a book at the same time as a friend. We can then have a good natter about the last chapter we read and have a laugh predicting what might happen next. If a story is particularly harrowing we can contemplate how we would deal with that issue or make a decision, give the facts we are presented with.

3) Would you make something artistic based on a book?

After I have read a book which is very visual, riddled with detailed description, I’ve often found myself doodling. I like to sketch cartoon-style and in the past have done this related to book images. Obviously we all see book settings differently and so creating something based on a book is really interesting. You could make a clay model, do a colouring or maybe even draw your own map of a mythical world.

4) Have you ever written fan fiction?

People play around with popular narratives and put their favourite story characters into completely random situations.

Not yet. You hear about this all of the time at the moment. Harry Potter has had so many fan fiction stories written, using its characters. This is where fans take the story characters and write their own version of events or continue a well known narrative in a way that they would like to see it play out.

Commonly, fans change love interests, alter storylines and mix up relationships, making friends from enemies. A good example is where Harry Potter is rather good ‘friends’ with his nemesis, Draco Malfoy.

I wrote this post because I think that interacting with books can help you to get out of a reading slump. It is also meant to be a bit of fun. I’d love to see your responses to the above questions in the comments. How interactive with your reading are you?

I recently wrote a post about how lazy a reader you might be which is here. If you enjoyed my article perhaps consider following my newish blog, where I write about books, mental health and the environment.

The Fathers, the Sons and the Anxious Ghost

I wrote this poem to celebrate my first book. It remained in my draft folder, until now.

Three men have families full of much joy,

They watch a school play, which they do not enjoy,

Their wives are quite different, and one is upset,

Their children are sometimes half full of regret.

The sons tell a part of the story indeed,

They all find a course in which they hope to succeed,

One daughter is affected by events in the past,

And the family bonds, well they don’t always last.

Emotions are rife in this dramatic tale,

Of friendship, romance, loss and apparently betrayal,

The characters laugh and cry and dwell,

Their consciences often narrating the story they tell.

Here is a recent post I write about the process of conceiving this story:

Normality – Is it all it’s cracked up to be?

A world with nature that is cared for is a world I want to be a part of.

Returning to regular blogging has given me a chance to reflect upon the world we find ourselves in now. As a writer, I have been tempted to explore writing in a different genre and as a reader I have started to enjoy books that I would previously have left alone. At the same time, watching the news unfold, I cannot help but worry about how quickly our lives are changing. The thing I cannot make my mind up about is whether or not we have learned anything from the pandemic.

What might we have learned?

People have ruminated about how much this negative experience has impacted on our societies and speculated about the potential for positive change as we embark on a post-pandemic planet. I have heard folk say that it’s made them realise how important being there for friends and families is and how important it is to value nature, for instance.

Some suggested that we may have a more considerate approach to the world after the effects of Covid subside and eventually allow us to return to some kind of normality. All of this sounds incredible. A thoughtful society made up of close-nit communities which look after each other and celebrate the strengths of individuals, while embracing all members, regardless of background and supporting the mental health of everyone involved. What concerns me is the constant anticipation of a return to ‘normality’.

Can ‘normality’ be a positive way forward?

This desperation to return to how things used to be worries me. It seems that so many are keen to rewind and get back to lives packed with entertainment, journeying and consumption. Will there be a temptation to party just that little bit harder as a way of compensating for lockdowns and remedying the boredom that has inevitably rattled the lives of those who found the restrictions of lockdown unsettling?

Whatever happens, it will be refreshing to learn that Covid is something which is no longer hurting thousands of humans everyday. In Britain right now the rate is lower than it has been for ages but there is still a risk that positive cases might rise again. We are standing on the precipice of a post-Covid UK but there is a fine line between remaining stable and watching the situation slowly unravel once more.

How can we make a new normality?

I regularly talk about how fragile our ecosystems are and how important it is that we take the climate crisis seriously. So before we return to how things used to be and revel in the chance to be free again and celebrate being able to travel, party and socialise, let’s take a breath. The world is fragile and our impact upon it is considerable. Now is the perfect time to reset the balance between ourselves and nature. As we take that deep breath, we can make sure we really have learned from all of this.

In recognising the delicate way that wildlife depends upon habitats and local climates, we can finally start to change our attitudes towards global warming. We all know it’s real and it’s devastating so let’s face up to it. Let’s make some changes and show our love for animals and plants which may otherwise soon become extinct.

As a blogger, I want to ensure that my writing offers advice to other writers, reviews of brilliant books and content regarding movies and TV shows. As well as this I am incredibly passionate about the climate threat and want to regularly look into developments related to this cause. I appreciate readers taking the time to consider my thoughts and I hope you may follow my blog and comment your own thoughts on the issues that I discuss.

Fingers crossed that we really have come to a turning point in the pandemic. These next few months will be a time for change. I hope that some of this change will involve moving forward by reducing pollution, cutting down the non-essential use of cars and having a greater appreciation of the wonderful and diverse habitats that surround all of us.

The awful floods in Germany and Belgium have highlighted the need to address global warming immediately. I hope that everyone can find ways to make a genuine change.

We have the power to make a real difference.