My favourite books

Book reading rules and magic

Book reading rules and magic
I have just finished reading Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks.

I have one word to say: WOW!

To begin with, I wasn’t sure. Something about the story didn’t grip me.

A friend assured me the book was a “masterpiece” and was “one of the finest books of the twenty first century.”

I shook my head. What was I not getting?

About a fifth of a way into the book however, it switched to the First World War trenches. And then everything changed.

I was completely absorbed from that moment on and cried an impressive three times during the last few pages.

Sometimes I read a sentence or passage several times just so I could savour the imagery and words.

Like I said, wow.

When I finished the book I hugged it (as I always do with books that have somehow magically altered my life) and then put it down beside me, not too far away – I wanted its essence to keep seeping into me.

I pondered the funny little rules I have about books that cannot be broken:

RULE 1: When I have finished a fantastic book, I can’t put it straight back on the bookshelf. I have to leave it on my bedside table for a while, where I can see it and it can continue to ooze its magic.

RULE 2: I can only buy a book that has the ‘right’ cover design. Most successful books come out in several editions with different cover styles. Only certain ones are ‘right’ for me and the book and are therefore OK to read.

RULE 3: If I want to buy another book by the same author, it must have the same style of cover. Under no circumstances can I have two books by the same author, especially if they are part of a series, with differing cover styles.

RULE 4: When a book has stayed for long enough on my bedside table (i.e. when I have absorbed enough of its magic) then I can move it to the bookshelf in the lounge, but preferably in a spot where I can see it and it can catch my eye every now and then.

Do not ask me what will happen if I break any of these rules. I never have.

I am now left with a slight problem: I am so inspired by Birdsong that all I want to do today is write. But I have work to do. The real world beckons.

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