Today’s world isn’t easy, but books and the world of literature help. They give me a space away from the everyday, and they always have done. There are touchstones here in this other world, touchstones that I cling to like a life raft in the ocean, because these are touchstones that have made, and will continue to make me who I am.
Those points of connection are everything to me. I love them with a fat, thick love that is, sometimes, beyond coherent expression. I have been built by books and the world of literature, and for that I am so very grateful.
Here are a few of my literary loves:
- Library ladders. Ones that go all the way to the top of a floor-to-ceiling shelf, and maybe even have those little hooks onto a rail which goes all around the room.
- Reading on a window seat (ideally with an apple to eat, in best Jo March fashion).
- The Tiger Who Came To Tea by Judith Kerr. I will never tire of the wonder that is Judith Kerr’s work.
- A bookshop with an open fire, and a comfy armchair. (Did you know that you can have a holiday where you run a bookshop for a week or two?)
- A Little Love Song by Michelle Magorian. This is my heart-made-whole book. It’s perfect. It was also published in America under a different title – Not A Swan – with several slight edits. If you can, seek out A Little Love Song. It’s worth the effort.
- A crisp new book that has never been owned by anybody else. The opposite of this is also true: a book that aches with being read is a beautiful thing.
- Ariel by Sylvia Plath. This collection of poems burns with heat and rage and fire and love, and it leaves me breathless every time.
- Endpapers. Picture books are an art (pun most intentional) but good endpapers are an even greater art. Books don’t begin on the first page, they begin moments – years – beforehand. And endpapers that flare out of the book, that sing in the world and catch your eye, they are wonderful things indeed.
- Small children that vibrate with excitement when they talk about books. If I am honest, this list could be just about the utter joy of small children talking about books.
- Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. I watched the film and as I stumbled outside, I diverted to the bookshop and picked it up. This is art as fire, fury, and wonder, and it blows my mind.
- Bookshop dogs. Library dogs. Basically any pairing of dogs, and books, and if they let me stroke their ears whilst reading, then it is ideal.
- Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyce. This, for me, is the perfect children’s book and should it come to standing up for it in some bookish Olympic sort of event, I’d be the first there. It’s a delight.
Looking for some more great things about the book life? Check out this earlier post, and of course, share your connection points in the comments.