I read a lot. I have a book on the go in almost every room in the house, plus one in my bag. I do own a Kindle, but I lent it to my mother for her recent holiday (she wanted to read Wolf Hall and Bringing up the Bodies, and the luggage allowance isn’t infinite). She’s never given it back and I haven’t missed it. I like books. I like the weight of them, the smell of them, their solidity in my hands. I like the way my bookshelves bend slightly. My books are chaotic. I sort them out, but a few weeks later they’ve developed a system of their own. Now that my children are beginning to enjoy reading, the system’s less predictable than ever. But better that we should all pull books down at random than that they should stay in fixed organised positions, never to be touched. In E. M Forster’s Howard’s End, Margaret Schlegel (one of my fictional heroines) talks about rent – rent to the ideal of human nature. She’s talking about the risk of Leonard Bast, the penniless clerk, stealing the apostle spoons if he’s invited to tea. For me, book loss and damage is rent to the ideal that books should be available to everyone. My four year old has recently taken to taking down some of the older hardback books and appropriating them as spell books, and it’s lovely to see her wandering about the house muttering incantations. She’s reading, in her own way, and in time the books will begin to cast their own spells upon her.
On these pages, I’ll feature a round up of my recent reading, in the hope you might find something to tempt you. And please, if you feel like leaving recommendations in the comments section, I’d be delighted.