Friday, 20 May 2011

Why I love reading Kate Atkinson

Good afternoon, kiddies!

I am currently reading Not The End of the World (for the second time).

The reasons why I love reading Kate Atkinson - I mean, besides the fact that she is my better half's uncle's cousin, so in that way I am a relative by proxy - mainly stem from the wide range of vocabulary she uses. I mean, who else would say words like "pre-prandial" and "reliquary?" (Pre-prandial: before a meal. Reliquary: a container of relics.) I actually had to look these up, which always gives me a little thrill. It reminds me of how much I like to learn new things. Especially things literary. I guess this really just goes to show I am the nerdiest of nerds.

 I took Etymology in high school and was probably the only one in the whole room of seventeen-year-olds who actually enjoyed doing homework. (Etymology: the study of words.)

And so I guess that with Atkinson, it is not just a good read but it is also whole book of new terms that I can then use to... show the wide scope of words that I know. To make friends and influence people? Is that how it works?

Anyway, I thoroughly enjoy an Atkinson book, and be it a crime thriller (like Case Histories) or a happy jaunt down a path in a disastrous world coming to an end (like Not the End of the World, which is actually a collection of short stories that all tie together seemingly disparate things, presenting the cyclical rather than the linear nature of the passage of time), when I open a book with her name on it, it is like a whole new world opening up before me, and I keep the dictionary open to A, poised at the ready.

And if you are ever bored, and you don't have an Atkinson book nearby, why not sign up to's Word of the Day? Like Atkinson, it's edifying and entertaining! Today's word: foofaraw. I dare you to use this word in a sentence.

Example: "The casseroles, the tableware, the multitude of drinks on hand - all the foofaraw that goes into a company picnic really could have been avoided if they'd just ordered in Pizza Hut."

Happy Friday, all!


  1. Just finished reading Kate's When will there be Good News[title supplied by said cousin mentioned above who is also my brother-in-law].this is only the second of her books that I have read and I admit the first one was hard going as the format was different to anything I had read before. Now having read 2 I am getting used to her style.I find it very intriguing how she has many small stories that seem total separate but eventually they all come together to form the main story. I am looking forward to reading more of her books so may be we can do a swap.

  2. Hey glad you liked it! I haven't read that one yet, but as soon as I finish Not the End of the World let's definitely swap - her engaging writing style really comes to life in this quirky collection of short stories (none of which really have anything to do with crime investigations by the way). I also highly recommend Behind the Scenes at the Museum, if you haven't read it yet. It was her first novel and it won the 1995 Whitbread Book of the Year, beating both Salman Rushdie and Roy Jenkins. I have that one too if you want to have a look! x

  3. I have not read any of her work, but I love what she sparks in you (thanks for the tip)! I recently read "Blame: A Novel" by Michelle Huneven and was struck in the same way. I LOVE authors that can send me running to my dictionary!

    Also, I LOVED what you posted about your HS etymology class...I was similar. I took a class on dialects and for many of my peers it made them feel like their corner of the world was "right." For me, however, it sparked such an interest in seeing the rest of the world! I mean somewhere out there people called a "drinking fountain" a "bubbler." I wouldn't rest until I MET THESE PEOPLE! LOL! ;o)

  4. Too right, Lil, education and travel make the familiar unfamiliar. And ironically we can learn more about ourselves by getting outside of our own day-to-day experiences, if that makes any sense.

    I shall definitely have a look for Huneven's novel and have a read.

    Any other books that have moved you, be sure and let me know, I love finding out about authors I haven't read yet! x