In the last few weeks my mind has been like a candle flickering in the wind. Stretched to its limits with studying and some intense work assignments, my poor brain deserves a break. Strangely though all I can think about doing this coming holiday is curling up with a book and reading. I’m craving escape and allowing someone else to take the intellectual strain.
At this year’s work Christmas party I scooped a bag of paperback books in the regift game. This is where we have to bring along something we already have, which may or may or may not have been a gift to you. The downside of this game is that the gift you pick can be snatched away by someone else leaving you to pick another mystery parcel. Needless to say I was stupidly too delighted with my pick as it was promptly “stolen” from me in the next round. But my night reading possibilities were boosted when I bagged as nifty book light on my second regift pick.
Not that my colleagues and I are reading obsessed. Some poor soul ended up with the candles that have been doing the regift round for a few years now. It will take some very creative repacking next year for those candles not to end up the booby prize next year.
Away from reading and writing about food and drink or eating and drinking I have indulged in audio books. This is such a brilliant way to multi-task, I love nothing better than to read whilst walking the dogs or weeding. Alas listening at bedtime has the same effect that reading and can lead to rather a long rewind to get to the point in the book when I was last conscious.
Two that I’ve particularly enjoyed are both inspired by birds, the Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling) and The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I admit I was lured into reading The Cuckoo’s Calling out of curiosity for how JK Rowling might tackle a crime mystery, a genre I enjoy. I fell totally in love with the characters and although worked out ‘who dun it’ still enjoyed the book and suspect I shall become hooked to Galbraith novels in a way that I never was with Harry Potter and his mystical friends. Galbraith/Rowling is however not in the same league as a writer as Donna Tartt whose third novel The Goldfinch is the best year (her first novels were The Secret History and The Little Friend). At 800 pages long The Goldfinch is not for the feint-hearted but if you love a book that you can’t put down then go grab a copy or listen to the audio book. Curiously having listened to the audio book I’m keen to now read the book for real to relive the wonderful characters and roller coaster narrative.
Next on my listen to list is the Luminaries by Eleanor Catton. It would seem unpatriotic not to give this book a go although I’ve heard mixed reviews even though this New Zealand original book won the Booker prize this year. I have also another Wallace Steiger book lined up after that although this may have to wait a while depending on what Santa brings me for Christmas.
For all I love to read, finding the mental space is hard to do with seemingly so many things to juggle in my head. The myriad of options real books, e-books and audio books, not to mention the mass of blogs I subscribe too and other news websites that are daily reads it can feel overwhelming at times. Thank goodness for holidays when you can legitimately kick back and enjoy a good read.