I’ve written before, in various places, about the importance of books in my world. I’ve been a bookworm all of my life — learning to read at an early age and never stopping. The first full-length novel I ever read (and I still have it) was called The Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse by Ursula Moray Williams. That particular book was first published in 1938…although I’m sure I was reading one of the 1970’s print runs. :)
I devoured Enid Blyton — the Famous Five (naturally) and the Faraway Tree books….along with volumes and volumes of pony stories. Adventure, mystery, animals, magic…pretty much all of those were fair game. Christmas and birthdays meant new books and I spent many a post-Chrimbly feast locked away in a room with chocolate and my new booksies.
Funnily, it’s how I prefer to spend current-day post-Chrimbly feasts. :O
I can’t even begin to wonder exactly how many books I’ve read over the years. Thousands, I’m sure.
Of those thousands, there have been very few that I haven’t liked. Nick Cave’s And the Ass Saw the Angel is the only book I’ve ever put down in disgust, unable to finish because of such a deep and intense loathing of the main character. Utterly f*cking horrible. Hateful, hateful book. *shudder*. :O
So it’s reasonable to say that I’m a fairly generous reader — I can forgive all manner of things for the sake of a good story. Something has to be the Height of Shite for me to say something disparaging.
I’d rather just not say anything at all.
Plus, simply because I didn’t like something, doesn’t mean someone else wouldn’t love it to bits. And vice versa.
Case in point: Those Discovery of Witches books. I was all set to love them and found myself utterly bewildered from the very first. I don’t blame the author — she had a good story and that’s why I kept on and ultimately enjoyed the series — but I thought they needed a far more firm editorial hand. The idea of admitting that aloud on the internets though? I’d be for the ducking stool, I’m sure.
Which is why, despite my voracity in the reading department as well as my in-the-trenches experience of being a writer and all the technical know-how that comes with that, I’ve never really been drawn to the idea of being a Reviewer of Books.
Oh sure, I could probably do a fairly good job of it — if pushed — but I wouldn’t enjoy it. *
You see, books are such a personal thing. They mean different things to different people; people read for all sorts of different reasons. Since casting off the chains of formal education, I no longer want to prod and probe and postulate about the whys and wherefores of literary merit. The entire High Literature genre seems a bit Emperor’s New Clothes to me anyway. I fear my snark—o-meter would get the best of me. ;)
Nowadays, I read for comfort and I read for escape (truthfully, I’ve always read for escape…hence my preference for fantasy during my adolescent years). I read a great assortment of things — from cozy mystery to urban fantasy to sweet romance to fairy-tale re-tellings and lit-lite**. Many of my favourites feature gardens and magic and tumbledown cottages and/or odd English villages.
And that’s not for everyone and I’ve always shied away from recommending books because taste is so very personal thing and I would hate to get it wrong.
BUT….I want to reclaim my blog for ALL of the things I love…and books are one of those things. So I’ll be writing and sharing my various book-loves from now on….but in a fairly non-review-ish sort of way.
An un-review, if you will.
So — if I may humbly recommend: (particularly for my garden-loving friends)
Not fiction, but instead a sort of memoir combining her passion for both writing and gardening, along with art and literature and social history. She wrote this in her 84th year and you can tell — it has all of the unapologetic contrariness that you’d expect from a woman of strong opinion and great life experience. I particularly enjoyed her ‘digs’ at the Chelsea Flower Show….which show her to be witty and clever and not at all fooled by the pomp and circumstance of the gardening world. And even though I learned that she doesn’t like The Secret Garden (one of my very-best-favourite books ever), I immediately forgave her. So that should tell you something. :) This would be the perfect winter read — something to keep the gardener’s heart warm during the non-garden months.
Happy reading, lovely people…..may your book-fort be ever-sustaining.
This book was part of a library-haul….as I’m still on a quasi book-buying ban. I’m linking to Amazon for this and all future un-reviews, simply because it’s easiest and anyway, Amazon owns Goodreads so who are we all kidding? I trust you all to do as your conscience advises you and offer zero judgement either way. I feel I should also mention that these will be affiliate links because every penny thrown my way makes a difference.
*The idea of getting loads of free books is quite appealing, though, I must confess.
**that’s not an actual genre, but it ought to be — I think of it as “literary without the pretension”.