As 2013 drew to an end, I made the decision that I would not be reading ‘school books’ over the holidays BUT – just for a change – what I truly wanted to read. I started with Luminaries by Eleanor Catton for obvious reasons. After two chapters, I must confess that I was struggling. Chapters 3 & 4 took me a very long time and then I put it down! I doubt that I will ever pick it up again. It is beautifully written and the subject matter is interesting. It simply takes Catton TOO LONG to complete a sentence and I really didn’t have the time and never will. It will reside with Catch 22 and Moby Dick – books I’d love to say I have read but feel life is too short to bother!
The gap girls at school recommended Caitlin Moran; a British broadcaster, TV critic and columnist at The Times, where she writes three columns a week: one for the Saturday Magazine, a TV review column, and the satirical Friday column “Celebrity Watch.” I started with Moranthology.
It is a compilation of her columns where she writes about absolutely whatever springs into her extremely intellectual and witty mind. In her own words;
‘In my new book MORANTHOLOGY – as the title suggests – I am set free to tackle THE REST OF THE WORLD: Ghostbusters, Twitter, caffeine, panic attacks, Michael Jackson’s memorial service, being a middle-class marijuana addict, Doctor Who, binge-drinking, Downton Abbey, pandas, my own tragically early death, and my repeated failure to get anyone to adopt the nickname I have chosen for myself: ‘Puffin’.
I loved it. And I laughed and laughed. I got nudged continuously by my husband on holiday for ‘laughing out loud’. Then my eldest son nudged me on the plane, where he couldn’t escape, for giggling uncontrollably and really embarrassing him. I quickly moved on to How to be a Woman.
It is probably not appropriate to quote but it is a must read that had me laughing and crying as I remembered my own tortured adolescence.
Next on my holiday reading list were several books that I had downloaded from the College eBook platform http://christs.wheelers.co/ so that I would have plenty to read in England. Sarah Turnball who wrote Almost French, carries on her adventures in All Good Things. She moves to Tahiti with her Parisian husband Frederic, lives next to an idyllic lagoon and carries on her attempt to start a family. It is a moving tale.
After this I could not resist the urge to return to my favourite genre – the supernatural and slightly macabre. Neil Gaimen, if you have never heard of him, wrote The Sandman comic, but is is an all round great guy and he LOVES LIBRARIES. He had also written lots of novels and films. I read The Ocean at the End of the Lane – a book that had me pondering some people’s amazing imagination. It is:
A groundbreaking work from a master, told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out. It is a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly’s wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.
And because Neil loves libraries so much I then moved swiftly on to Coraline. Terry Pratchett said of it;
This book Will send a shiver down your spine, out through your shoes and into a taxi to the airport. It has the delicate horror of the finest fairy tale. And you will never think about buttons in quite the same way again.
Apart from Neil’s brilliant writing,.
I think every person in the world who loves libraries should support him and buy his books. Recently, he wrote an extended essay on how important libraries are. And to again quote;
I wouldn’t be who I am without libraries. I was the sort of kid who devoured books, and my happiest times as a boy were when I persuaded my parents to drop me off in the local library on their way to work, and I spent the day there. I discovered that librarians actually want to help you: they taught me about interlibrary loans.
Here is the link if you would like to read the whole essay! http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/oct/15/neil-gaiman-future-libraries-reading-daydreaming
Lastly, yes phew, my husband cannot believe how many books I can read in one week, I read and am still reading Beauty from the Inside Out by Dr Libby Weaver. If you are going to buy one book this year, I would highly recommend that you buy this one. I have found it so life changing that I gave up caffeine immediately. I am now on day six and feeling good. And as one staff member said to me today; “Wow, that would be soooo hard for you Lisa – it’s COFFEE!”
So College Mums – happy reading and start with the last one.
Afterword: I lied, I actually snuck in The Evil Seed by Joanne Harris, Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, Juno of Taris by Fleur Beale and Bone, Ash, Sky by Katerina Cosgrove…