Bookshops are my happy place.
Nothing delights me more than perusing shelves, reading title after title, pausing to select the ones that intrigue me, to examine covers and read opening sentences, feeling the weight of the stories they contain, taking a moment to appreciate the work that’s gone into each and every edition.
Bookshops are my panacea, the mysterious elixir with the power to uplift, intrigue, excite and reassure. There’s nothing like the familiar sight of rows and rows of Penguin classics to settle my anxious mind.
Last night marked the first meeting of my new book club.
When I finished my finals, I was sick to death of literary analysis. After all, I had spent the best part of the past seven years having to read books through the lens of academia. I was ready to read what I wanted, when I wanted – whether it was George Eliot or Jilly Cooper.
Recently, however, my inner geek has reared her bespectacled head. Every time I finish a book, I have an overwhelming urge to discuss it with someone. I decided there was definitely space in my life for a literary gathering of like-minded book worms. I decided to start a book club, to give us all an excuse to get together, drink wine and analyse character motivation until the cows come home (aka, until the wine is gone).
When it comes to literature, I am a compulsive consumer.
Whenever I finish a novel/play/poetry collection, I allow myself a moment to savour the final sentence, with a strange sigh of relief and inspiration and sorrow and optimism. Then I think, ‘Right. What’s next?’
This morning, just as I reached my tube stop, I finished reading Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar. After the familiar sigh had shivered through me, something unusual happened. Instead of mentally scanning my shelves for my next literary adventure, I wanted to flick back to the beginning and start again, devouring the words with a new understanding. I wanted to grab the person behind me on the escalator and implore them to read it. I wanted to buy 50 copies of it and send one to everyone I know.
My finances not permitting that final impulse, I settled for a more sensible option. Blog post.