18 August 2015

books, and when you are ready for them

i just finished 'life after life' by kate atkinson, which was another novel that i had started when it first came out, but just couldn’t get into it.. this was a severe disappointment, as atkinson is one of my favourite authors, her ‘behind the scenes at the museum’ being one of my favourite books in school. her later jackson brodie books were also wonderful literary mysteries that i thoroughly enjoyed.

at a loss for reading material, and after one of my friends who doesn’t like her other work told me that she enjoyed this novel, i thought i would give it another try. again, the beginning was slightly off putting, but once i got a little further into it, i was hooked. and now, at the end, i am totally glad i persevered: i feel my world view has expanded, while her descriptions of war time life were great, in britain and in germany. it was also interesting to see the sense that people did not hate germany or the germans, they just hated hitler. i am not sure how historically accurate that is, but it was a change from the way the japanese are portrayed in novels detailing the war situation in america..

some months ago, i read sara gruen’s like water for elephants, which is another novel that i had wanted to read eons ago, but decided was not my cup of coffee. when i finally got around to reading it, i LOVED it, and could not figure out why i had missed out for so long!! this brings to mind a quote i came across by doris lessing while in high school, about reading whatever books catch your fancy, and not worrying about whether they are ‘classics’, or ‘have to read’ books, or whatever. lessing was of the opinion that books came into your life as and when you were ready for them.. this piqued my teenage mind, particularly in the face of my english syllabus, where we ‘had’ to read so and so books..

today, i am a firm believer that books, like people, truly come and open up worlds for you when you are ready.. and you take from these books only that which you can digest. ayn rand’s ‘atlas shrugged’ was a huge revelation to me as a freshman, but i am not sure what i would think of it today :P a friend and i so eagerly read ‘the child that books built’, but were sorely disappointed. i love novels/memoirs about books and how they accompany people on their life journeys, and many a time point them in certain directions. this particular book fell so short of doing this, but the title has always stuck with me. perhaps one day i will detail the books that built me.. :)

any recommendations for future reads are welcome!

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