Books, books and more books…

One of the things I like the most about the way my little family ‘does’ Christmas is that I stay away from social media and the internet generally and spend the evenings curled up by the wood-burning stove reading. (I’m curled up there now too). Books are one of my favourite things. Anyone who has ever been in our house will be able to testify to my love of books – they are everywhere. And I can rarely walk past a bookshop, especially a good independent one. As for library cards…….

Meath, Westmeath, Cavan, Fingal, Dublin City and NUI Maynooth
Meath, Westmeath, Cavan, Fingal, Dublin City and NUI Maynooth
I can and do spend many a happy hour in libraries, browsing, reading, researching.

Anyway, back to books and Christmas. I got through three new (to me) books this Christmas and had a load more I was hoping to tackle too. One that I enjoyed and may well have to go back to was Stephen King’s 11.22.63. I’m not a King fan, always think of him as a horror writer and that is a genre I can’t stand whether in books or film. I’d seen this book mentioned online somewhere and when I saw it in my local library I thought I’d give it a go. Its a LONG book, too long in my opinion, there’s a lot of dull detailed sections in there which could have been pruned. But it was the premise of the book that appealed to me – time travel and the idea that you could go back and alter history, in this case preventing the assassination of JFK. An unexpected surprise was the near apocalyptic scenario that emerges towards the end of the book. (I have a bit of a fascination with the apocalypse too!) Its a challenging read in a lot of ways and I’d read it again but just skip the loooooong boring bits.
The other two were Gavin Esler’s A Scandalous Man – a political novel again not my usual thing but pretty good and gripping (read it in a day) and Judith O’Reilly’s Wife in the North which I was a good bit of the way through before I realised it had started life as a blog. I wasn’t mad about it although some of it is quite moving.

Reading and a love of the books is one of the best gifts a parent can give their child. Our wee woman adores books and has a few rather dog-eared favourites which she can ask for by name and frequently does. One of her most common requests – or should that be commands! – is “Read it!” and she knows a couple of them so well that she can say some of the words in the right places. Needless to say her daddy and I know these books so well that we don’t need to look at the pages now when reading them to her (quite handy that actually – I can read a book to her and skim read a newspaper article at the same time – how’s that for multitasking?)

I usually have a few books on the go – a light novel in the kitchen for when I’m cooking, another novel or self-help type book for bed, non-fiction in the evenings and usually a couple of history books during the day when I’m at my desk. And yes I do manage to keep all the various plots/themes separate in my head. If I’m in someone else’s house my eyes will invariably be drawn to their bookshelves and I have been known to get a little twitchy if I’m staying over somewhere with no books. Going away on holidays I pack at least 4 books and generally buy a couple more while away. Last summer I packed Deborah Harkness’ A Discovery of Witches which I had bought but not read and was so hooked and enthralled by it that I ended up in a bookshop in Sligo looking for the sequel (Shadow of Night – read that during the week too). I’m greatly looking forward to the final part of the trilogy this summer and am giving advance warning now not to expect any kind of engagement with the world from me while I’m reading it!

Its fair to say books are a pretty important part of my life. My husband is well aware that if the apocalyspe ever does happen and we need to burn things to stay alive I’ll burn every stick of furniture we own before I start on the books. Time to sign off now and pick up another book – happy reading!


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