I enjoyed reading Charley’s recent post at booksandbakes1 on the tag of My Life in Books and she kindly nominated anyone who wanted to participate. My hand shot up as the prospect of having an excuse to study my books was irresistible. What a treat!
Blimey! Where to start? By my reckoning I read at least 80 books a year, so that alone adds up to … a lot of books. I slowly dawdled past my old flames, scanning the covers, stopping to flip through the pages, reading a snippet here or there. It quickly became evident that this post would take some time to complete…hours later…
Here are my book selections for the tag and I’ve added a twist by including the first sentence/paragraph of each book as a taster. I want to mention that the books read in recent years, most of which have been on Kindle, are sadly ruled out. The choice was still staggering however.
- FIND A BOOK FOR EACH OF YOUR INITIALS.
I cheated a bit here by including my middle name too.
This is the last of Thomas Eidson’s excellent and heart-stopping trilogy.
‘Like a frigid hand of ice gripping the back of her neck, the winter wind blew in across the prairie, over the quiet farmyard and into the garden where they stood staring at the coffin. She shivered.’
Get your tissue box out for this one – although I rarely cry whilst reading this one had me weeping by the end. Beautiful but so sad. I’ve put the sequel ‘After You’ on to my Christmas list. The sequel is a first for Jojo Moyes but she could not resist the clamour from her fans to learn more about Louise and her life.
‘There are 158 footsteps between the bus stop and home, but it can stretch to 180 if you aren’t in a hurry, like maybe if you’re wearing platform shoes.’
Gosh, I re-read this many times in my teens and then later relished seeing Steve McQueen in the film version. I suffered with him throughout and by the end collapsed on the sofa exhausted.
‘The blow was such a stunner that it was thirteen years before I could get back on my feet again.’
2. COUNT YOUR AGE ALONG YOUR BOOK SHELF – WHICH BOOK IS IT?
A tricky one as the house is encumbered with bookcases but I have an antique-style desk with top bookshelf where my all time favourite books reside. I counted and stopped at my age.
A must-read for mankind I feel.
‘You who live safe
In your warm houses,
You who find, returning in the evening,
Hot food and friendly faces:
Consider if this is a man
Who works in the mud,
Who does not know peace,
Who fights for a scrap of bread,
Who dies because of a yes or a no.’
3. PICK A BOOK SET IN YOUR STATE/COUNTY/CITY/COUNTRY
This book starts in the county I’m living in now, so just slides into this category by my reckoning.
‘I decided to enter this world just as my mother got off the bus after an unproductive shopping trip to Ilford.’
4. PICK A BOOK THAT REPRESENTS A DESTINATION YOU WOULD LOVE TRAVEL TO
I am a great fan of Mme Ramotswe of Alexander McCall Smith’s The No. 1. Ladies Detective Agency and I would love to travel to the warmth of Botswana, sit in a cafe and do nothing but gaze onto life outside whilst sipping redbush tea. Oh well, I’l make do with reading the books and watching the TV series.
‘Mme Ramotswe had a detective agency in Africa, at the foot of Kgale Hill. These were its assets: a tiny white van, two desks, two chairs, a telephone and an old typewriter. Then there was a teapot, in which Mme Ramotswe – the only lady detective in Botswana – brewed redbush tea.’
5. PICK A BOOK THAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE COLOUR
As such I don’t have a favourite colour but I adore this cover of the sunset over the sea and must say that I bought the book for that alone, before becoming engrossed and anguished by the tale that unfolded. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
‘Most days I wish I was a British pound coin instead of an African girl.’
6. WHICH BOOK DO YOU HAVE THE FONDEST MEMORIES OF?
As so many writers I was inspired by a wonderful teacher. When I was aged 8-years-old Mr Kewley introduced this book to us. I have re-read it countless times, the magic of words still beating their song in my heart. The book holds a particular pathos for me as my then favourite teacher passed away two years later from leukaemia.
‘In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with thing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.’
7. WHICH BOOK DID YOU HAVE MOST DIFFICULTY READING?
Having read and mostly enjoyed ‘Gravity’s Rainbow’ I bought this hardback with confidence. Alas all my attempts to read beyond the first chapter failed and it now sits in my book shelf, unread, pristine. Such a pity as I loved the concept and it felt such a noble enterprise.
‘Snow-Balls have flown their Arcs, starr’d the Sides of Outbuildings, as of Cousins, carried Hats away into the brisk Wind off Delaware.-the Sleds are brought in and their Runners carefully dried and greased, shoes deposited in the back Hall…’
8. WHICH BOOK IN YOUR TBR PILE WILL GIVE YOU THE BIGGEST SENSE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT WHEN YOU FINISH IT?
In my twenties I was introduced to this and it is a tricky read and took a long while to attune myself to the complex language. I was thrilled to have finished it but also surprised how much by the end it had become part of my inner self.
‘When conversation at school turned to the Russo-Japanese War, Kiyoaki Matsugae asked his closest friend Shiegkuna Honda, how much he could remember about it.’
I hope you have enjoyed reading about the books in my life and I would like nominate you fellow bloggers to carry on with the tag. I look forward to learning about the books that have featured and are present in your life, please grasp hold of the baton and carry it forwards. It’s a great fun tag to complete.