Wednesday, 29 April 2020
Book Swaps and other escapes
I've always been an avid reader since the age of four. My parents both read a lot so it was as natural to me as breathing. I've always, also, read too fast. I'd love to be one of those people who savour books, but I can't. If I'm enjoying it, I have to tear through the next page, and the one after that.... and if I'm not enjoying it, I'm afraid I skip bits.
But my appalling reading habits haven't stopped a lifelong love of books. When the libraries announced they were closing for lockdown, I took out ten books, knowing that wouldn't last me long. But to my surprise, I find I've still got a high To Be Read List, healthily enabled by various friends.
Anne texted a few weeks ago to say she'd got Tom's Midnight Garden, a childhood favourite of both of ours and would I like it? YES! I'd told her I was re-reading several childhood books for comfort reading - Susanna of the Mounties being one. Which was just as good as I remember, and beautifully old fashioned, being written in the 1920s. So Anne dropped it round, while walking her dog round the block.
Last week she texted to say she'd got two more for me, so this time I took Moll round there. It's so lovely to actually talk to someone, face to face, albeit from two metres. Cheers my day up no end. This time she lent me Sweet Caress by William Boyd, which I'd read some time ago - the true story of Amory Cade, one of the first women war photographers. It's so well written and useful research for my novel, which features a young photographer. I couldn't put this book down, and as I'm going through a phase of walking at 3/4am for a few hours, it's lovely having something good to read to while away the wee hours.
I'm half way through Tom's Midnight Garden, which I find good for reading at night. it's not overly exciting and beautifully written, full of imagery and time travelling magic. And inscribed by the seven year old Anne, which makes it all the more special.
Corinne lent me several French text books as well as The Making of Us by Lisa Jewell, a fabulous writer whose books I will always read. And Fiona dropped round Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo - another amazing writer.
So, along with another pile of books for my book group, I'm OK for a few weeks. This might not be a big deal for some people but for me not having enough books is like telling a smoker she's run out of fags (I was one, I know how terrifying this is).
So thank you, all my other book loving friends, for enabling my escapism during lockdown. It is much appreciated.