A good book is a friend, a comfort, a provocation, an encouragement, an insight. It’s a starburst of imagined faces and places, scents and sounds, an escape from bad things, or maybe a window to see them through.
I love books, especially those so compelling that the outside world fades into the background in a haze of colourful characters, beautiful descriptions and a damned good story. I have so many books, I could run my own library and not worry about borrowers returning them, actually I think I did have more books than the local library before having a clear-out. And getting rid of those books was traumatic, I can tell you, I needed firm assurance from the hospice shop that the books would find a good home, they said they would, I think they where humouring me.
There are some books I return to again and again, I’ve worn out one copy of To Kill A Mockingbird, for heaven’s sake, I think I read the words off the pages. I remember where I bought my favourite books, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe was picked up at a bookstore in Flagstaff, Arizona, it started my love affair with Fannie Flagg’s world of fascinating characters living ordinary lives.
The Kraken Wakes and indeed all of John Wyndam’s books are clever, character-driven science fiction stories which always end with hope. I bought them in a second-hand bookshop in Mirfield of all places. And yes, I love Harry Potter, pure escapism, simple, easy to read and fun. I love the feel of all my books, their smell, the sound the pages make as I turn them, the cracking of the old glue as I open them, the bookmarks and notes I’ve left in there from the last time I read them.
I’ve nothing against e-books, they are functional, lightweight, cheap and convenient. But they’re not real books, not something you could love.
There’s a little Facebook challenge about books going around at the moment. I tend not to respond to challenges that expect you to challenge others, life’s challenging enough without stressing over social media. But this one’s different, this one’s for book lovers and is aimed at spreading that book love. All I have to do is send my favourite book to a stranger and another stranger will send me their favourite. The most difficult decision is which book to choose! In the end, I sent The Count of Monte Cristo, written by Alexandre Dumas and published in 1845, a year after The Three Musketeers. I can’t even begin to describe the depth, richness and cleverness of the story, I just hope the person who receives it loves it as much as I do.
#SaveTheCulture #BookExchange #LongLiveBooks