Decided I will approach this from another angle. I should probably have something in mind to write about to help me focus and actually stick at this for a while. I need to get back into the habit of writing. The first 6 chapters of a shortish/mid-length story I have been working on are terrible and I seem to have hit some kind of massive snag. Perhaps I should leave it and try some short stories again for a while to get into it. However, my lack of confidence in my skills leaves (a lot) to be desired.
So I will focus on books, as I love to read and have now had to resort to setting myself a monthly book allowance.
I thought perhaps first of all, some quick background here. I am currently volunteering in Govan at the Fairfield Shipyard, where they are renovating (for lack of a better word) the previously abandoned head office. Which is beautiful inside, I would love to just have a wee nosy by myself, but pretty sure for H & S reasons, this would not be allowed. Part of the downstairs area is being turned into a museum about the history of the shipyard and the rest of downstairs and all of upstairs is being turned into offices for lease.
Recently we got a very large donation of books about the history of ships and shipbuilding etc. We were split into 2 groups, one would go through the books and decide which ones would be used for research, which ones were maybe and which ones would be for donation. The other group (me), would go through the inventory given to us along with the books and mark them off the list and make a separate pile of ones which were not on the list. Make any sense?
This pretty much gave me the freedom to peruse the books and geek out over the particularly awesome ones – although the group sorting the books were doing the exact same thing. Which is one of the many highlights of this volunteering, we geek out over awesome old books, artefacts and gush about history, and although I love my friends, they just don’t get it, just as I don’t get some of their weird obsessions. At the moment I am currently annoyed as I have been unable to help them inventory an old cupboard full of artefacts which they have only recently been able to get open. I wish I could curse my social life, but it is due to work.
So back to the point I was making. Some of these books were unintentionally hilarious. Also, some people have far too much time on their hands and some very strange interests. For example, there are specialist books, just for people with an interests on a range of questionable topics. I just can’t quite comprehend that these books actually existed. There were multiple books on lighthouses and rescue boats. Rescue boats? Really? How does that thought process go?
“I was once rescued by a rescue boat and now I would like to fill my head with pages of information from at least a dozen books on the topic.”
Honestly, a dozen of these types of books existed. At least. These aren’t books for specialists in the field, these books were specifically aimed at people with an interest in life boats. Is it really so much different though to peoples interest in say…trains? I really shouldn’t judge.
Although, some of the titles were so good, I had to write them down and share them. My favourite was “A Glossary of Shakespeare’s Sea and Naval Terms”. The best part? It came with examples of the contexts they were used in. Who sat down one day and thought to themselves. “I need to write a book, once which no one has written before on a completely new topic. Now what should it be? That’s it!! A glossary of Shakespeare’s Sea and Naval Terms. Who wouldn’t find that useful?”
This I imagine is when I discover that in fact it is an area of academic research, in which case I apologise, as it would be very useful. Which does seem plausible now I think about it, as it is pretty incredible how many words Shakespeare actually invented.
Anyway, other books I looked at. There were two entirely separate unrelated books both called “World’s Tankers”. I mean both on the same topic, but entirely different authors, publishing houses. So, there seems to be a need for many different books on a Tankers. Another favourite was “Warship Design: What is so different?” Really? You need a book to explain the difference between a cruise ship and a warship? That might be a sign you shouldn’t be building any kind of ship. Then I thought that perhaps I was being too judgemental so I looked inside. It was literally gibberish. Just tables, graphs and diagrams and the occasional word I understood.
Ok, so this is the last one, not because I exaggerated the number of hilariously titled books, (there were dozens, we had about 30/40 boxes of books, at least) but because this was the point where everyone else started looking at me for chuckling away to myself and then turning on my phone and wondering what the hell I was doing. I clearly wasn’t texting because apparently in abandoned head offices with minimal heating in Autumn in Scotland, you don’t get mobile phone signal. So I had to stop.
Anyway, this is the last one I took a note of, it is not the funniest one -I maintain the Shakespeare one is – but this final one was called “Diesel: The Man and the Engine”. I don’t even know what that book could be about. Maybe if the title was “Diesel and the Engine”, yea, I could get that, but why does Man have to come into it? Surely it would just be a cause of putting Diesel into an engine? Surely a chapter would suffice? Nope, no idea. Didn’t even look in this one.
Then I moved onto big voluminous tomes about shipping laws, which all appeared to have been written by one man. At which point I put my head on the desk and cried (not really).
The volunteering project is awesome though, I am so lucky and grateful I came across it and hopefully will keep updating on it.
I plan on trying to do one of these silly reviews for most books that I read and they will be stupid and not make much sense but I need to get back into writing. I read a lot, so that shouldn’t be the issue, it will probably be making myself write. So I will aim for at least once a week!