Reading

I have always been a reader and a lover of books for their own sake.

still-life-with-french-novels-and-a-rose-vincent-van-gogh-1887

As a child I read voraciously.  I was one of those children described as “always having her nose in a book”: a child who failed to hear the call for dinner (or the call to lay the table…) I was often in trouble.

“We don’t need a list of rights and wrongs, tables of dos and don’ts: we need books, time, and silence.

Thou shalt not is soon forgotten, but Once upon a time lasts forever.”

(Philip Pullman)

I was quiet and introverted, more often described as “sulky”.  Friendships were frequently fickle and painful.  But books offered a whole new world.

girl reading

“There is no friend as loyal as a book.”

(Ernest Hemingway)

The reading habit ebbed and flowed over the years, largely determined by the demands of study, marriage, work and motherhood.

multitasking

“Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.”

(Henry David Thoreau)

Then I was invited to join a book club.  It became a lifesaver. A group of ladies within a small village who became good friends: who laughed, cried, supported and applauded each other through the ups and downs of life and all the while coming together to read and share their responses.

ladies reading 1

“Good books, like good friends, are few and chosen; the more select, the more enjoyable.”

(Louisa May Alcott)

Saying goodbye to the book club was one of the hardest parts of this move to Cornwall.  Of course I’m still in touch with my friends there and they generously allow me to chip in when I want to and send in my thoughts on a book.  But I still miss it.

woman reading

“We read to know that we are not alone.”

(C.S. Lewis)

In this new phase of my life there can be no excuse for not reading.  Which is just as well, since my ‘to be read’ list is long and insistent.  But I’ve been hankering for something more – the book club has shown me the added layers of pleasure and understanding that can be gained from reading a book if there are opportunities to share and discuss it afterwards.

woman reading 1

“A good book is an education of the heart.”

(Susan Sontag)

The opportunities for establishing a similar group in my immediate neighbourhood are limited and I’m a long way from being ready to even consider it.  But a few weeks ago I discovered “The Classics Club”.  I started working on my list for the club immediately and have been tinkering with it ever since.  I’ll be posting it very soon.

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An indulgent day of online exploring led me to a raft of other blogs devoted to books and reading and book reviews.  There’s a whole world of blogs on books out there that I never knew existed.  It’s exciting, and will be a big help in plugging the gap.

Henry Caro-Delvaille Ladies Taking Tea 1902

“Reading brings us unknown friends.”

(Honoré de Balzac)

Within these blogs I’m finding a plethora of reading challenges.  I could so easily dive into many of them.  I shall try to be sensible.  I’m going to start with The Classics Club Challenge since this is how I entered the world of book-related blogs.  And I’ll add other challenges, great and small, as I get into the swing of things.  

books

 “Reading is everything.

Reading makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something, learned something, become a better person.

Reading makes me smarter.

Reading gives me something to talk about later on. …

Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape;

it’s a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up,

and it’s a way of making contact with someone else’s imagination after a day that’s all too real.

Reading is grist.

Reading is bliss.”

(Nora Ephron)

girls reading

“Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.”

( Mark Twain)

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1 thought on “Reading”

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