For the first time in an age, I’m Into a book. I’ve got that particular feeling – a strange, dazed sort of weightlessness that is instantly recognisable, but so rare nowadays. And it’s brilliant to have it back.
I’m reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Anne Burrows - romping through it would be more accurate, since I only started it today. It’s only a little book, but it is so wonderfully evocative, of an era and a place and a set of characters you feel you know, that I felt like I was in that world. And I know that I won’t want it to end, which is my measure for a good book. Not the style of the writing or the fame of the author or the, *shudder*, originality of the story. Just the creation of a world which I don’t want to leave.
I think it’s one of the reasons why I struggle with many “classics”. It’s not that they’re not good, or that I don’t recognise the quality of the writing; it’s just that they’re written differently to how I like my books. For me, something like Dickens is Observation, not Immersion, and while I am happy to Observe, it’s nothing on that feeling of knowing a world or a set of characters so well that you carry them with you when you put the book down, like holiday memories. It’s not losing yourself, quite – rather, losing your surroundings. You are there – that’s what makes it so good.
All my favourite books are like that – my real favourites, the ones that are dog-eared and decayed. Coming Home, by Rosamund Pilcher, was like that; The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets, by Eva Rice; David Eddings’ Belgariad and Mallorean. And every time, it’s a wrench when they end.
So yes, glee and happiness, and I can’t wait til I have the time to read again…
Four more work days! Four! Then freedom!