A jolly good read

I’ve always loved a good book. And I also love collecting the books I read. I appreciate the services of libraries, but I don’t really use them. I prefer to stack up my books and look at them lovingly and reminisce about my favourite parts, gently stroke their spines and sometimes inhale the deliciousness of words on paper. When I was at uni, I’d spend way too much money on books and then stack them up and use them as bedside tables. Hipster before it was a thing.

When I walked into this house for the first time, I was sold by the dining room and was pretty sure a kindred spirit must have lived here. Wall to wall books. A whole wall of books. It’s now a bit full of other things like photos that need to be put into albums, confiscated textas, high chair trays, and precious breakable objects that need to be kept safe from harm for a little while, but it’s mostly books.

After having the boys, I had an enforced hiatus from reading. A friend told me that she used to read whilst breastfeeding which I thought was a grand idea, but I didn’t have the brain power to concentrate on reading so it was at the bottom of a very long list. But recently, I’ve found the time, the inclination and the books to read again. I decided that I just had to. I committed to reading every day even if I only got three sentences (or one) in before I had to do something else. And gradually, I’ve been churning through the books.

I’ve always loved a bit of nineteenth century literature and I liked to think I kept up to date with the latest ‘must reads’ and new releases. This time around, things were different and I blame ‘Gone Girl’. I hadn’t (and still haven’t) seen the film, but gee whiz, I got hooked on that little number! What has ensued, is a bit of an affair with ‘thrillers’. I’m not sure what this says about the current state of my life that I devour these books like my life depends on it, but I love them. And I was a little bit happy when I noticed that “Girl on the Train” was making it to the recommended reading of respectable lists because it had been one of my guilty purchases at Big W.

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I’d already been thinking about writing this and then today a friend asked me about my top three books of all time. What a task?! After thinking about it all day, I’ve narrowed it down to these:

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen. This is when my love affair with Victorian literature began and it’s still pretty amazing.

The Catcher in the Rye – J.D Salinger. I’m sure some of my former students would disagree with this but, I love this book and Holden Caufield.

A Streetcar Named Desire – Tennessee Williams. I went through a bit of a phase of being right into reading plays and this was the first one I read. Loved Tennessee Williams so much that I named a cat after him – you know, a clever little reference to ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’.

I’m also a devotee of Margaret Attwood and I’ve bought her latest offering way back in November. But I can’t bring myself to read it yet because I don’t want it to be over so I’m just saving it up for a while and wiring my way through some thrillers and other easy reads.

Dad had a little plaque on his desk that said something along the lines of ‘if you have a library and a garden, you have everything you need’. And I think that’s a grand piece of wisdom. Last weekend, I started work on the garden. Well, I got the iced tea ready and chilled the champagne whilst mum did the work, on a bit of an homage to the humble geranium, the cactus and finally a lemon tree. I’ll keep you posted on its progress.

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