Finding Yourself in a Good Book

It’s been a busy couple of weeks including: one train journey, two countries, three flights, five different beds and three books (I’ll get to the books in a minute). I’ve seen family, caught up with old friends, and, most importantly, celebrated my sister’s wedding. There has not been a lot of time for writing, and yet there has been a lot of inspiration: family, friends, love, memories, and travelling to name a few.

A couple of ideas are brewing in my handwritten journals, but they’re not ready yet. But, while I’ve not been writing  much, I have been reading. A lot. (See, I got to the books).

Books are probably the most important inanimate objects in my life. I always have a book on the go, and, especially when I am away and travelling, I can get through a fair amount of them. As a child, I was often lost in a good book. All readers have done it, sitting in the doctors office or on the train, and, forgetting where you are, laughed aloud at a a joke or cleverly written piece. Books offer great escapism. They allow you to ignore the people you’re squashed against in the tram or the fact that the dentist is already running a quarter of an hour late. Books put distance between a bad day and a good nights sleep. Getting lost in a good book is one of my favourite things to do.

Books aren’t just for getting lost in though. Because often, a really good book, a memorable character or brave action will inspire you, alter your view on things and force you to take a closer look at yourself. Being entirely fictional does not mean that an event or person can’t influence you.  And what a perfect combination it is when you find books that take you away from it all and bring you back with a new perspective, a fresh idea and some welcome inspiration? What a treat when you find a better self in the pages of well-written fiction?

Books!
Books!

In the last fortnight, I’ve enjoyed three books, all of which I can add to my lost and found collection.

First, ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee. This book is possibly my new favourite book. It has that magical quality of a voice so strong that every time I picked  it up I was transported to Atticus’s house. What I found in this novel is pure, honest values. The right way of looking at the world, courageously and striving to never be blinded by prejudice. When I talk about matters of principle, I want Atticus’s voice supporting me.

Next, came ‘Counting by 7s’ by Holly Goldberg Sloan. Despite being aimed at a younger audience, I found this a quick and charming read.  It’s a first person narrative about a high functioning 7th grader who struggles with the more day-to-day aspects of life and is, in my opinion, all the better for it. When her parents die, she is swept up by a mixture of unlikely foster parents, all of whom are made better for knowing each other. In this novel I found the importance of friendship and support. I also found the question, who makes my life better and whose lives do I make better, just by being in them?

Finally, and on-going, is ‘The Rosie Effect’ by Graeme Simsion, the follow up to ‘The Rosie Project’. Another first person narrative. Another socially awkward and high functioning individual. Another book I LOVE! And why? Because Don, the main character is the perfect balance of being humorously absurd and poignantly believable. I love that Don is hapless when it comes to socialising, but rather than find him ridiculous, I find the way most of us go about life called into question. I’m not quite half way through this book and desperate to get back to it. Just as soon as I finish writing about it because in it I’ve found another way to look at the world. And we can never have enough of those.

So, there we have it. Three books that have gone on in the background of two weeks of trips, travels, weddings and wonderfulness! Three books that helped me to get lost and to get found.

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2 thoughts on “Finding Yourself in a Good Book

  1. I loved The Rosie Project too and have just started The Rosie Effect. I echo all that you say about reading – there is nothing like a good book. Do you ever ‘comfort read’? My comfort reading are my childhood favourites – amongst which are Anne of Green Gables and Paula Danziger books!

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    1. Yes – when I don’t know what to read and feel a bit down I go to books by authors like Katie Fford – good old fashioned boy meets girl story with a strong female protagonist down on her luck. I like it because it’s well written, predictable and charming. They’re my ‘warm blanket’ reads. Thanks for messaging.

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