When was the last time you spent all of most of your day immersed in a book? Last week, last month or back when you were a teenager? I expect that for many of us (apart from critics and perhaps book bloggers) reading is something to be fitted in around the other things which make up our days, work families, and other responsibilities and reading can be the thing which is left until bedtime when you’re tired and likely to fall asleep over your book.
And yet there is evidence that reading makes you happier so shouldn’t we all aim to do more of it? As a writer I am also an avid reader and I have been trying over the last six months to recapture that feeling of getting lost in a book which I remember from being a teenager. It seems to happen most easily when I have discovered a poetry pamphlet that I can’t put down.
Yesterday it was the novel, Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie which I spent time with. This was my local book group’s choice for the month and the meeting was last night and I really wanted to finish it. It is a feast of a novel, ambitious and moving, with an ending which was shocking and completely believable.
The poetry books I am currently reading (or about to read) are Loop of Jade, alongside several other people. Technically this is a re-read and I am enjoying spending more time with these poems. Then it will be the turn of John McCullough’s Spacecraft which has just been published. Those of us who loved ‘The Frost Fairs’ have had a considerable wait for this second collection and I have already broached the book, which begins with a marvellous poem ! about the exclamation point and ends with a catflap poem. In fact the prospect of spending the best part of a day with John’s book is rather enticing. I may be gone for a while….