Thursday, 2 April 2009

Books I've nearly read or "You! Yes you at the back! Conentrate!"

I could dedicate a whole blog to the "books I've nearly read". I can't blame it on the children; I can't blame it on running a, somewhat haphazard, home; I can't blame sig. other (I'll try to though). The thing is, I suffer terribly from a lack of concentration, and have done for as long as I can remember. I don't think there is actually anything wrong with me; easily distracted, they told me at school. I managed to train as a teacher and I was( and will be again) a really good one: HMI and the good people at Ofsted, have told me that my classroom: "reflects an organised mind which is evident in my highly effective teaching style" but, after 8 years, I have not managed to climb the career ladder...not one rung. "She doesn't like responsibility" people say; but I do, I have 3 kids; I care, I nurture, I breastfed/feed, I present them with what passes as vaguely nutritious food, I get them to swimming/dancing/ much more responsible can one get? I find the most frustrating part of "lack of concentration" is my inability to finish things off properly. Actually, thinking about it, the concentration thing, might be due to my, very mild, OCD tendencies (very boring won't elaborate) .WOW! Blogging does bring clarity but back to the matter in hand: I can cope with the small stuff, housework/ironing and so on but one thing that really frustrates me, irritates me beyond reason, is my inability TO FINISH OFF READING BOOKS PROPERLY (see I even had to put the Caps Lock on there!). OMG, I actually have a degree in literature! Admittedly, I didn't do all the required reading...well, maybe a page or 2, then York notes (I know, I know they're really for O-level not degree level but...they were very, very useful after a pretend vodka fuelled night out at the grotty S.U. bar). Well now, the buck (book...geddit? A homophone...see told you I could literary stuff, shame about the grammar though) stops here, and I'm going to read the other halves of the books in my collection if it kills me.

So, I'm going to tell you about this one: it's Can Any Mother Help Me?, a study by Canadian academic Jenna Baily (she has my dream job, ohhh I would love her job). Maybe you've read it? Feel free to tell me the outcome. The thing that struck me and, will no doubt strike me once more (when I start reading it again), is the parallel between what we, as "mummy bloggers", do and what the subjects of Bailey's study did. In a nutshell, Bailey charts the development of the Cooperative Correspondence Club (I like cooperatives) or the CCC. A group of women (some anonymous, some not), from across the social spectrum, who created a unique magazine. The publication was circulated amongst a group of like minded mothers; all taking responsibility for editing (it in turns) and publishing each edition, after gathering writing, reflections and advice from all members of the CCC. They they then circulated the work amongst their number. In common with blog posting, this took a certain amount of dedication and belief in what you were/are doing. Comments were hand written beside each woman's article; prompting debate, reflection, advice, empathy. No different, I suppose, than the opportunity to comment after each blog post. The book is brimming with fascinating snippets into the psyche of women dedicated to expressing themselves via their pen. The slices of life portrayed, are the experiences that many a modern mother will identify with: pressures and joys of caring for small children, money anxieties, work and marriage issues. The difference being, that much of it took place amongst the back drop of the Second World War, in an age where diseases such as Polio could, and did, bring tragic consequences, where giving birth, was just that little bit more risky. If this book presents as something you might be interested, in please read it, and if you think of me, feel free to let me know the conclusion, just in case my fickle friend "concentration" decides to turn against me once more.

NB: This isn't a review, I would genuinely love someone to read this and share their opinions with me.


Motherhood The Final Frontier said...

This book looks extremely interesting and, now, my tiny mind is searching through the back catalogue of books that I have read in recent times for a novel where one of the (male) character's mother documents her life during this period for an academic study.. Wish I could remember it now. Canadian? Oh, where is my mind? I know I retain parts of it but so many vital aspects have gone wandering in the mushy landscape of motherhood and domestic dissatisfaction, not to mention the anticipated horror of approaching middle age (NO! NO! NO!)
wv is, amusingly, usenedle = use the needle in the haystack if you can find it?

Katherine said...

My brain feels like a haystack at the moment...a sort of neglected, soggy one. Yes, middle age is rapidly descending here too. I keep thinking I should do one of "those lists", y'know "things to do before you're 40, but to make a list you have to write it and that's all a bit beyond me at the moment. have a think about that book, I'd be interested to take a look; I'm rediscovering the joys of the library (free-well discounting late fines). Managed to finish a Mary Wesley, so I'm going for the big guns next; bit of Lessing and maybe some Atwood. I really want to read some AS Byatt but somehow never manage to "get into" her writing (have tried several times). I should read chick lit really as that requires no concentration but, unfortunately, it makes my toes curl.

notSupermum said...

Can I please join your Books I have Nearly Read club please? I have several books secreted around the house, all of them have bookmarks in at the page I stopped reading them and none of them have been finished. I haven't managed to finish a single book this year.

Katherine said...

notSupermum, please do join in...all welcome. Maybe we could do a book share thing; kind of like job sharing; you take 3 days, I'll take 3 (need a day to recover) and, maybe, just maybe, we can finish a whole book between us.

disa said...