So here is my book blog. I thought I should start by telling you about me and my relationship with books, well I guess seeing as it’s a book blog I should try and give some sort of…authority I suppose to what I say. I mean most people wouldn’t want to read reviews from someone who had only read one book in her life before (although that could be interesting as a sort of no expectations about what they would read…anyway I am drifting). Here I’m going to tell you a little about myself and my relationship with books, or my reading history if you want.
At time of writing I am 24. I came out of uni with a degree in psychology which seems to get more and more worthless the longer I spend working as a nursery officer. I love my job but it was never what I expected to be doing 4 years after finishing uni. I live with my parents in Birmingham (UK) and I have 2 sisters, one older who lives with her boyfriend and their little daughter in London and one younger who has just started uni after her 2 gap years. I guess they’re not very important things to know for a book blog but then again maybe it shows you a little of where I am coming from. Apart from reading (of course!) I like shopping, sleeping, spending time with my friends and the boyfriend, eating chocolate, writing, cooking, and spending time on the internet.
In fact my internet life and my reading life are quite closely linked. There is of course this blog but I shall start at the very beginning. What I suppose I would call my real internet life (when it became more a way to spend time that to pass time) started with the (now extinct) Bloomsbury Harry Potter message board. I was well and truly a Harry Potter addict by then and wanted to discuss my theories with other people. The Bloomsbury site was small and after a while our discussions ended up going round in circles. I started looking for a new site to discuss my addiction this is how I came across the Chamber of Secrets Forum which I still visit. From that came by personal blog over at livejournal. Earlier this year I decided that it was time to spread my wings a bit, things over at CoS had slowed since the series had ended and while I still enjoyed it I felt it was time for something new. This is how I came to the Book Club Forum which in turn led to this blog. I really have loved that forum, it has the sense of community which I loved about he Bloomsbury forums but a wide enough topic range (after all you could talk about pretty much any book that has ever been written) to not feel like discussions are going in circles. Also linked to books and the internet I take part in bookcrossing and bookmooch which are both ways to share my love of books with others and I am a member of Goodreads, although that gives little information that this blog does not.
As for my own relationship with books? Well I cannot remember a time when I didn’t love books or reading. I have lots of memories to do with books. I remember sitting on my parents bed while Mum read to me and my sister(s). I remember her reading The Hobbit particularly well and how the scenes with Gollum brought to mind a slug like creature (it is maybe strange that I remember this so well as I never managed to read Lord of the Rings all the way through). I remember being read to when I was ill. I remember numerous trips to the library. The kids section in Waterstones and-to a lesser extent- Dillons (as is was then). Books were my escapism during school especially (which is also part of the reason they link to my internet life). They are like a comfort or even a luxury to me. There is no greater pleasure that being tucked up inside with a book and a hot drink on a cold day. Books to me are precious and should be treated with a reverence almost.
My first memory of loving a book was when I borrowed the Pippo books by Helen Oxenbury from the library (unfortunately these don’t seem to be being published anymore, I tried to get hold of one when my niece was born). Even now I think of these books fondly. To still say these are favourite books may be pushing it but they are part of me in a way- do favourite books ever really stop being favourites?
Generally I read fiction- and certainly all my favourite books are fiction but more recently I have been reading some non-fiction books, mainly psychology related or biographies.
What type of books do I like? Well I guess it depends on my moods a little. I like books to be well written but not difficult to read. I think often good writing and complex writing are confused, complex writing can be bad though when it is unnecessarily or overly complex. I think good writing has to be readable but varied and thoughtful I suppose. While a plot is important I generally don’t favour books which are plot driven- although these can be good when you want to be able to just read without thinking, a sort of soap of the literary world. And I guess sometimes a good plot can stop you noticing how good the writing is, at least at the time.
I love books which make you think, that stay in your mind long after you have read them. A couple of examples of this are both books I’ve only read once. One was a book called Eva by Peter Dickson. A strange story in which a girl’s brain was implanted into a chimp to save her life. It makes you think about ethics and how we treat our fellow creatures. I read this when I was about 15 I think and it still sticks in my mind. The other I read about a year ago(at time of writing) and I still cannot quite work out what I think about it. This book was The Reluctant Fundamentalist. For this reason Jodi Piccoult is a favourite author of mine (if you’re looking to try out something by her I’d recommend either Handle with Care or My Sister’s Keeper).
I like books where you really feel you know the characters too and care what happens to them. A book can have the greatest plot but without characters you can connect with you can never really grow to love it.
All this is true but still to describe what makes a book a favourite is not an easy task. Really it’s just a feeling. I guess it’s partly a sadness that a book has ended, and maybe a certain satisfaction as well with how things were, but it’s not that simple, it’s indescribable.
On my first version of this post I posted a list of favourite books but my list is ever changing so I’m scrapping that. If you want a list of favourite at any one time feel free to ask me.
It seems this is turning into somewhat of a mini essay so I shall leave this section there. Hope it wasn’t too long winded.