‘You can borrow it if you like.’ No sooner have the words escaped from my mouth then I regret them. I’ve been telling someone about a great book I’ve read and gone and offered to ‘loan’ it to them for an undefined period with no conditions regarding its care and return.
This can also be interpreted as ‘Give them my book to put on their bookshelf/bedside table and never think of again/read and love it so much they deliberately don’t return it/move house and lose it/lend it to someone else without my permission/forget that they borrowed it and think it’s theirs. … Continue Reading
If, like me, you’ve heard about Darfur on the evening news, know that very bad things are happening there and want to know more then Not on Our Watch: The Mission to End Genocide in Darfur and Beyond is a book you need to read.
Co-written by actor Don Cheadle and human rights activist John Prendergast, Not on Our Watch paints a comprehensive picture of the history of Sudan, its civil conflicts and the current tragedy unfolding in Darfur, a region of western Sudan. … Continue Reading
I admit that I’m a book snob. Not only do I judge a book by its cover but I judge a reader by its book. By the same token I expect to be judged by what I read. I expect other people to draw a conclusion about the kind of person I am based on my taste in books just as I am judged by the clothes I wear and the car I drive.
How many times have you visited someone’s home for the first time and made a beeline for their bookshelf eager to get an insight into what kind of person they are? … Continue Reading
As a child I was aware that my favourite fictional characters had certain eccentricities; Winnie the Pooh was a bit of a scatterbrain, Pippi Longstocking had a vivid imagination, and Peter Rabbit was a naughty bunny. In contemporary parlance these traits would be referred to as ‘issues’. Now Laura James has gone one step further. In Tigger on the couch: The Neuroses, Psychoses, Maladies and Disorders of Our Favourite Children’s Characters she has identified the psychological disorders of a host of fictional characters. … Continue Reading
As the time to pack for my holiday approaches I constantly run through in my head the many things I need to take; swimmers, baby monitor, pillows … . It’s all pretty straightforward and doesn’t require a second thought. However, there is one packing decision that I mull over almost to the point of anguish. What books do I take? This is by far the most important decision to be made. Make the right choice and I’ll enjoy hours of reading bliss. But the wrong choice can be disastrous. The worst case scenario is that I abandon my books and end up searching my host’s bookshelf trying to find something decent to read. … Continue Reading
Having never visited New York, pretty well everything I knew about this city had, until recently, been garnered from novels, the big and small screens and from people who have been there. By reading Through the Children’s Gate by Adam Gopnik I think I’ve doubled my knowledge of this intriguing city.
Through the Children’s Gate is a collection of personal essays written by Gopnik in the years following his return to New York in 2000 with his young family after living in Paris for five years. … Continue Reading
‘So many books, so little time’; these may well be the words etched on my gravestone. My ‘books to read’ list is infinite, growing all the time no matter how many books I read. I’m in a hurry to read as many of the books on this list as I can before I have need of said gravestone and so I read quickly, I never re-read books, I always have at least three books on the go at a time because I’m so impatient (of course, I don’t get through them any quicker this way) and in my pre-baby life I carried a book with me everywhere I went (these days I carry nappies, oh, and my baby).
Usually when I start reading a book my mind is already straying to thoughts of the next book. But occasionally a wonderful thing happens and I find myself with a book that I enjoy so much that I don’t want it to end. And I slow down. I take the time to simply enjoy the story, the prose, the characters, and, for the brief time that I am immersed in its pages, it is the only book that exists.
The novel I’m currently reading, Atonement by Ian McEwan, is one of these books. For once I’m not in a rush to get to the final page. For me, other novels that belong in this elite category, are The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, The Gormenghast Trilogy by Mervyn Peake, Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa and On Beauty by Zadie Smith.
Whilst I enjoy most books that I read I am always in anticipation of my next slow-reading experience.
Which book(s) have you enjoyed so much you wished they would never end?