An Interview With Cathy Ryan

This week, I interviewed Cathy Ryan, a blogger living in North Wales.

Her hobbies include reading, listening to audio books, blogging, walking her dog, theatre, music and travel. “I spent most of my working life doing voluntary work at schools for children with special needs, cataloguing the library and reading with the younger ones. Now, my time is my own.”

Cathy began blogging in late 2013, and would describe her blogging style as informative. “I wanted to catalogue the books I’d read. I kept getting caught out, buying books with different covers or changed titles, only realising after the purchase I’d already read it.” she explained.

“Initially it was intended to be private, for my own records, but I found I was restricted as to what I could do with a private site. I decided to go live, not thinking anyone would take an interest. I was very surprised when I began to get visits and it went from there.”

Cathy has many favourite genres to read, such as thrillers, mysteries, crime, drama, and historical fiction. However, she isn’t keen on romance novels. “It’s generally not exciting!” Cathy said, “It’s not tense enough to keep me engaged.”

Fantasy is also a genre Cathy avoids. “I’ve never been able to get into most fantasy novels. Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, or anything along those lines does nothing for me.”

I asked Cathy which author she’d most like to meet. “Oh my goodness!” she exclaimed, “If I can only choose one, I think it would be Emily Bronte. I love Wuthering Heights, it’s a huge favourite of mine.”

Cathy joined Rosie’s Book Review Team in 2014, and writes book reviews for the Team. She believes negative reviews have their place, but shouldn’t trash an author’s work and must be constructive. “I think a reviewer has to be honest with their opinions – about what they like, or don’t like, about a book. For me, if a book rates below 3 stars, I don’t think it’s for me, and I avoid submitting a review.” she said.

You can find Cathy Ryan on Twitter at @CathyRy and her website is betweenthelinesbookblog.com.

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Thanks for reading!

– Judith

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Book Review: Trainspotting

Trainspotting is a novel about a group of friends who are addicted to drugs, alcohol or have a tendency to indulge in criminal activity. The book is set in poverty-stricken Scotland in the late 1980s.

Unfortunately, Trainspotting wasn’t my cup of tea. Structurally, the point of narration shifts from a third person narrator to a first person narrator, to a different first person narrator and so on. It became incredibly difficult, incredibly quickly, to follow the plot and learn about the characters.

I also didn’t like Welsh’s use of explicit sexual language and swearing.

The Scottish dialect in the narration and dialogue was somewhat confusing too, albeit interesting. Regional accents and dialects are important in conveying realism, which is necessary for a book which places itself in the social realist genre.

I am sure other readers have had similar reactions to books with a regional basis, such as Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte, 1847) or The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett, 1911) which are set in the depths of Yorkshire and the dialogue reflects this. Being a ‘Yorkshire lass’ myself, this form of dialect doesn’t bother me. I suppose Trainspotting is Welsh’s modern take on this.

However, despite not enjoying the book, Trainspotting was still fascinating, from an analytical perspective. The characters exist, rather than live. There is a focus on survival, rather than quality of life. The stagnation of action is reflective of their stagnant drug and alcohol addictions, and this is quite sad.

Although this kind of modern social realism wasn’t for me, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy Trainspotting for yourself.

– Judith