Hello, my name is Sarah McKeown. I love books and music, and I started this blog to keep a record of my thoughts about what I’m reading, along with occasional posts about live music, films and the places I visit.
If you would like to get in touch with me, please leave a comment. Here is a little more about me.
A brief history in reading…
Ever since I began to read, I have loved it and I was a compulsive reader when I was at primary school. I managed to get through a vast quantity of books and was constantly running out of things to read. My favourite books were L.M. Montgomery’s series about Emily of New Moon and the Story Girl, but I also read my way through all the books by Frances Hodgson Burnett, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Louisa May Alcott. I’ve slowed down quite considerably by now but reading still counts as one of my favourite activities.
As a teenager, I read a lot of Young Adult fiction by authors like Joan Lingard, Cynthia Voigt and Aidan Chambers, mixed in with the authors for adults I was discovering. Some of my favourites of these were Emily Bronte, J.D. Salinger, Douglas Coupland, Hanif Kureishi, Sylvia Plath, Jane Austen, Angela Carter, Ian McEwan and Julian Barnes.
Some of the authors I have enjoyed best in my twenties are F. Scott Fitzgerald, M.J. Hyland, Haruki Murakami, Jean Rhys, Stevie Smith, Rosamund Lehmann, A.L. Kennedy, Siri Hustvedt, Scarlett Thomas, Diana Athill and Penelope Fitzgerald.
Recently I’ve discovered some new favourites like Richard Yates, Barbara Pym, William Maxwell, Carson McCullers and Elizabeth Bowen, and I’m writing about these and other authors on my blog. My blog doesn’t have a particular theme, as I want to write about pretty much everything I read, but I hope that, through writing, I’ll discover what I’m particularly interested in and be able to define myself and my likes and dislikes better.
For a long time I have found that writing is the best way for me to explore any topic. I think it is miraculous how it’s possible to discover what I think or feel about something through writing, even if my mind seems blank and I imagine beforehand that I have no opinion. Of course that doesn’t happen every time, but when it does, it is certainly worth the effort. I have kept journals for years, but I have only recently started writing about books again. I want this blog to be my own personal space to think about books and life in general. I find it a worthwhile experience to write down my thoughts, no matter how badly expressed, as it is a method of discovering what I think, describing my experiences, and keeping a record of what is important to me at different moments in my life.
…and the rest
I live in Oxford, which is a lovely city with many interesting events taking place all the time, not to mention all the beautiful streets and parks there are to wander round. I have lived here for several years, but I grew up in Cheshire. Although I lived in London for a while after university, I found it too stressful living in a big city and I prefer the scale of Oxford. My favourite things to do here are cinema trips and long walks; I have an equal liking for the countryside, the sea (especially in Cornwall) and cities.
Second only to books, I really enjoy live music. Some of my favourite bands and singers are Low, Trembling Bells, Low Anthem, Sharon Van Etten, Bonnie Prince Billy, Marissa Nadler, Bob Dylan, Bon Iver, the Incredible String Band, Fleet Foxes, Red House Painters, Nick Cave, Micah P. Hinson, Sparklehorse, Wildbirds and Peacedrums, Nick Drake, Leonard Cohen and Arcade Fire.