A subject close to my heart. Reading. Oh, how I love to open and book and lose myself between it’s ‘lids’ as Professor Bhaer calls them, (name that book). How I miss being able to read for hours uninterrupted; as much as I love Peanut, that wee man has disrupted my life more than I thought possible, but that’s a whole other blog post on the harsh realities of parenting. It’s been rattling around in my head for a while, so it may fall out soon.
Anyhoo, Carole this week asked for ten books that have stayed with you. Like her, I think I’m going to struggle with this one, how on earth do I curtail this to ten? I’ll give it a go, and in no particular order, I’ve tried to choose books that I literally couldn’t put down. Books that interrupted my life where I stayed up to read them, or books that broke me open:
- Lucky Man – Michael J Fox. I nearly missed my train reading this book, and wept copiously over it, so much, my copy looks like I dropped it in the bath.
- On Beauty – Zadie Smith. I cannot tell you how much I love this, I re-read it every year and get more out of it every time, (as an aside, my book club is meeting on Monday to discuss her new novel NW, to say I was bitterly disappointed in it would be an understatement)
- Moab Is My Washpot – Stephen Fry. I am the proud owner of a signed copy of this, he signed it after Hubs and I went to see him talk in Melbourne a couple of years ago. I was close enough to pat him on his tummy thank you, and slip a note into his bag telling him how wonderful I thought he was. I’d also have his babies if he’d let me, and have been saying that for longer than the bint did on that you tube video (she said darkly).
- Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen. If you’ve not read this, why not?
- The Color Purple – Alice Walker. If you not read this, why the hell not?
- Possession – AS Byatt. This is possibly my favourite book. I recommend it to everyone, with trepidation, because if you don’t like it, I’m not sure I can then like you. Luckily, everyone who’s read it, loves it – phew! It’s a perfect winter book, you cannot skim any of it, you have to read, wallow and relish every single word.
- The Measure of A Man – Sidney Poitier. How I love this man, words can’t do him justice, but gosh he’s an inspiration.
- Down Came The Rain – Brooke Shields. On the outside the lady looked like she had everything, on the inside she was so broken, it took a long time for her to find the pieces of herself and put them back together again. Raw, open, honest, I read it in one sitting.
- Stop Thinking, Start Living – Richard Carlson. Singularly the most important book I read when my first marriage was imploding. I learnt that I was enough, just me, as I was. I re-read it every year, my copy is heavily marked, loved, bashed and battered (a bit like me really). I buy it for people, recommend it all the time. If you’re struggling with depression, this could be your life saver.
- In Defence of Food – Michael Pollan. This changed my food and eating habits quicker than anything else I’ve ever read. Scary stuff.
All this and before I get to any of the other fiction books I love? Cold Comfort Farm, Mapp and Lucia (I am so excited for the new BBC adaptation), Sue Grafton. I could go on and on, but I’ll leave you this.
A lifetime ago I lived in Winchester, I worked at a bookshop (I know right, talk about my dream job). We also had a fantastic Oxfam second-hand bookshop in the town. I’d regularly visit, both to drop books off and to peruse their stock. After wondering around for a bit on one visit, I found a book I’d not read in ages. I brought it, opened it on the bus on the way home and found my name in it. That’s another book that won’t leave me, alas I can’t remember what one now, I wish I could. I just remember falling about laughing.