An Evolution of Reading

An Evolution of Reading

I have always been a reader. Even before I was able to form the words on the page myself, I loved to read. Recently, my mum confirmed for me that my first ever book was a bath-time book. One that was made out of plastic and therefore unlikely to flinch at the thought of being drowned by a toddler. Ironic, considering now I wouldn’t dare take a book near a vat of water for fear of dropping it!

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The Author is Dead, the Reader’s a Ghost, but the Work is Alive and Well.

“Once an action is recounted, for intransitive ends, and no longer in order to act directly upon reality — that is, finally external to any function but the very exercise of the symbol — this disjunction occurs, the voice loses its origin, the author enters his own death, writing begins.” – Roland Barthes, The Death of the Author (1967).

One thing that’s really been bothering me recently is the phrase that I’ve entitled this blog: “The Author is Dead, the Reader’s a Ghost, but the Work is Alive and Well.”

Now, it bother’s me more so, not because I said this to myself while reading an assortment of Barthes’ essays on narrative, authorship and the materiality of work, but because to an extent I believe it. It bothers me that I believe this statement but the actuality of the matter is that I do and as I’m typing this I’m frowning because my internal consciousness is raging so hard at how much it disagrees with this statement on principle. So I should probably contextualise everything and I’m going to address each part in sequence to do so.

  1. “The Author is Dead”
This stems quite directly from The Death of the Author as the quote about states for writing to begin the author must die – not literally. When Barthes talks about death he means not the ceasing of life (if anything he means the opposite) but that in order for a work to be given the merit is deserves it must stand independent from its writer. To some extent I agree with this statement especially in a world were celebrity culture overrides good literature. People receive book deals based on the knowledge that it will sell either due its popularity of style or the fan base of the author. Literary exceptionality is thrown out of the window or put aside for a very niche audience to only be discovered later in its existence (though some would argue this is the perpetual melancholy of the dead author).
  1. “The Reader’s a Ghost”
The ever-present reader. The pinnacle one which the act of reading is uplifted and without such the industry would collapse. However, when an author writes they must give up their claim to their creation upon commencement as a fully fledged work in its own right. In this same way the reader is simultaneously dead, during the writing process, and alive, during the reading process. Even though it is the readers who will decide the merit of a book it is not necessarily who the book itself is written for. When an author writes, truly writes, it is because they either have something they wish to say or an idea they just need to interweave within words. The reader is a constant at the back of their mind, no doubt, but more a ghostly whisper than an infant crying.
  1. “The Work is Alive and Well”
Barthes’ separates the concepts of both “work” and “text”. In their simplest forms; “work” describes the physical form of a creation, while “text” is the ongoing creative process and can span an entire body of work (this is a very short and narrow description on which Barthes expands much further). So in this respect I should probably say “The Text is Alive and Well” but, when thinking through Barthes’ logic, is a self-evident and constant state of being for the Text. What I mean by saying that the work is alive, is that it is constantly expanded on. Through the mediums of critique, adaptation and fanfiction (yes adaptation and fanfiction are different), the work is in a constantly changing and collaborative state. It is self-evolving; the ricochet effect of each new piece that is added to the world of the work further molds and affects the way in which others are then created.

To conclude, I believe this probably extents further than the creation of writing and act of reading. I don’t for one second consider this a theory or a fully-fledged argument as I am aware there are flaws to some of the logic and areas I haven’t fully given thought on. However, this is what has been whirling around in my brain for a little while and – like any dead author – I thought I better write it down.

So this is very different to what I usually write. I’d like to hope it has a little more intellectual flare to it, but I could be wrong. What I’d really love is for anyone interested or in refute o my arguments to comment below and let me know your thoughts; both on the blog and if you would like me to do more in this style of writing.

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Bout of Books 8.0 – Days 4 and 5

Current Readathon Status:

– The Strange Power (Dark Visions #1) By L J Smith  (250 pages) – COMPLETED
– The Possessed (Dark Visions #2) By L J Smith (236 pages) – COMPLETED

– The Passion (Dark Visions #3) By L J Smith (244 pages) – COMPLETED

– City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) By Cassandra Clare (485 pages) – COMPLETED

OMG! I can’t believe it has taken me THIS LONG to actually sit down and read City of Bones! Now I totally understand what I’ve been missing! I decided to read this book during my readathon because I wanted to read it before I went to see the film. I’m so glad I did! If you’re thinking of seeing this then definitely read the book first! It’s filled with everything you could possibly want from a fantasy book!

I read it over two days because I’ve been so tired! I spent Thursday travelling to the south of England and then, from Portsmouth, I spent Friday travelling down to Cornwall. I spent a lot of both journeys sleeping because of the odd times we set off! So I’m now moving from Fantasy to Dystopian with Uglies By Scott Westerfeld!

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Bout of Books 8.0 – Day 3

Current Readathon Status:

– The Strange Power By L J Smith (250 pages) – COMPLETED
– The Possessed By L J Smith (236 pages) – COMPLETED
– The Passion By L J Smith (121 of  244)

So almost half way through and I’ve read 3 books. I’m doing a ton better than the booktube-a-thon and can’t wait to get started on “City of Bones” By Cassandra Clare tomorrow! I’m travelling down south tomorrow so 5 hours in the car should give me plenty of reading time!
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Bout of Books 8.0 – Day 2 + Challenges

Current Readathon Status:

– The Strange Power By L J Smith (250 pages) – COMPLETED
– The Possessed By L J Smith (236 pages) – COMPLETED
The Passion By L J Smith (121 of  211)

Re-title it Challenge

So I have chosen to rename The Strange Power since I just finished it.

Synopsis:

The book follows Kaitlyn Fairchild who is different from other girls her age. She has a power, that has caused her to become an outcast, shunned by her peers. Her power allows her to draw the future, but the things she sees scare people and never tend to be pleasant. That is until she is asked to join in an experiment, told that her power can by useful and with the promise of a college scholarship, she agrees. It is only when she comes to be settled with new friends and a possible romance brewing that things start to take a turn for the worse. She is there only a week before mayhem starts to occurs and she discovers that the Institute might not have told her everything about their plans for the five psychics.

So I decided to rename this book “A Witches Canvas” because in the book Kait often gets referred to as a witch. At first it is a term of insult from her peers at her previous school, but I slowly becomes positive and connotes her strength as a psychic, which partners well with the development of her power. I also chose this title because it relates directly to Kait’s power, which is her using her mind to create images on canvas that forsee the future. Not only this but it is a metaphor for her mind as later in the series she no longer needs physical materials but can use her mind to draw images.

So yes that’s my progess so far today! I will update this blog at the end of the day to let you guys know how I got on! Let me know what you’re reading today too!!

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Bout of Books 8.0 – Day 1

So this readathon is already going so much better than anticipated! I finished The Strange Power (Dark Visions #1) By L J Smith so here’s a quick review!

To come soon

Current Readthon Status:

The Strange Power By L J Smith (250 pages) – COMPLETED

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New Year’s Resolutions of 2013

Happy New Year everybody! Here are my new years resolutions:

Misc:
  • Take more pictures
  • Learn more technical information about photography

Reading:

  • Read 50 Books (5 classics, 5 debuts, 5 of a genre I wouldn’t normally read)
  • Review Every Book I Read  (Blog or Video)

Writing:

  • Write one blog a week
  • Finish my novel
  • Write 5 short stories

Misc:

  • Lose another Stone
  • Draw More
  • Learn to play the guitar

 

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