My Life in Books Part Two

18 Mar

76464Looking back at part one, I realise I forgot to regale you with the ‘hilarious’ time I had chicken pox and read all three volumes of Simon Schama’s A History of Britain in a two-week frenzy. Bizarrely this culminated in having weird dreams about King James II and people pushing me off ladders because I couldn’t rule both England and Scotland at the same time.  This lasted for straight nights.

Throughout all of my tumultuous new-found enthusiasm for any and all books, I had retained my love of Football, most notably in a statistical side of things keeping up with such numerical wonders as The non League Directory, Rothmans Football Yearbook and The European Football yearbook as well as enjoying various great club and personality autobiographies, etc, with such gems as Football Against the Enemy, Kicking in the Wind, Left Foot Forward and Bobby Robson: Farewell but not Goodbye to name but a few.

Some of the most memorable books of this particular phase of life were read at nights, I lived on a quiet street and with trusty touch lamp and low-wattage bulb on.  The scene was set for complete absorption in various genres with the most memorable stories; The Stand, Desperation and The Woman in Black, 2001 and 2010: The Second Odyssey, The Dark Tower series, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, The Wind in the Willows, Endymion Spring, The Lost World, Rendezvous With Rama, The Chronicles of Narnia,The Kraken Wakes and possibly the book with the most disappointing spoiler in the blurb, the Midwich Cuckoos.

It was glorious to read at nights, way back when my job at the time didn’t demand I be up at 6AM, and so the hours of reading when the street outside were deserted allowed me another layer to my self enforced isolation.  A great many epic books were devoured and dreamed about within this era and I really did treasure the time I had by myself in bed.

Strangely I don’t have lots of memories of buying books, only certain ones, I suppose after a time things 13499589become a little muddled.  I do recall the pain of finding 2001: A Space Odyssey had the same sheaf of pages bound into it twice with another sheaf completely missing.  I was gutted, being so into the book and missing a section thatt I NEEDED to read.   So I went back to Nottingham, swapped it and promptly bought the rest of the series as well.

Each book has a memory somewhere for me however and it is difficult to pick out the best, The Silmarilion,The Corner: A year in the Life of an Inner City Neighbourhood, Voss, What Was lost( a book read in twelve hours with me not moving once), the list goes on.  Those I remember reading, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is one that sticks in the mind for buying, which is a descriptive blog post in itself (which can be found in my short-lived and soon to resurrected Book Memories series) and also the slightly mental House of Leaves.

These days though, my love has evolved, having moved and possibly moving again within the year, my need for books is arguably diminishing.  It is possibly because in the last three years I have become more critical of the written word that means shedding a decent majority of the collection will be an easier thing.  Or perhaps it is because I only treasure the books that gave me the best memories.  One positive to giving them away is that other people get to enjoy what I have and whenever I see them in second-hand book shops, my romantic side will always wonder if that copy was mine and what adventures it has been on.  Another is that however many years go by, when I see these books again, I will be afflicted by nostalgia and memories and it will make me happy.

lanark514My introspective side has come to the fore since last year and now I reflect on things and have moved slightly away from the book reviews as a consequence.  This makes me a better writer and also means I read less.  I will never stop loving reading but perhaps now is the time I start to reread and enjoy the delights of the James Herriot series, Sea Room, Lanark, the Life of Pi, The Orange Girl et al.

Of course I will never stop reviewing books for that is what got me to meeting all these wonderful people and especially you, but I will round out my writing and I hope that I can manage my reading and writing and keep up with both.  It will make a nice fusion to the days and not only supply me with adventures and memories, but also keep me evolving into a better person as well.

I have purposefully name checked a bunch of books, that some you may not have heard of, that is in the hope that you get that magical feeling of curiosity, that makes you want to explore them, whether you do or not is up to you, I just love the fact that I can chat about books and that I can cut it down enough to be not too rambly.  One more book that may intrigue though is Graham Hancock’s Underworld.


Posted by on 18/03/2014 in Life, My Writings


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25 responses to “My Life in Books Part Two

  1. Al

    18/03/2014 at 20:41

    It’s odd. As I was reading through, I was hoping that there would be a book that I had read, but no, there wasn’t. I didn’t even do any of them at school. I dealt with Across the Barricades, Joby, Kes and a couple of others. There wasn’t even any Shakespeare or Dickens.


    • Ste J

      25/03/2014 at 20:20

      No Shakespeare at school? Isn’t that treason or something lol. There are plenty more books coming up in parts 3 and 4. I haven’t read any of the books you have namechecked either…because like the BBC and see-saws, I enjoy balance.


      • Al

        25/03/2014 at 20:24

        I may find something from there then, although my circles of books have been somewhat limited.


  2. RoSy

    19/03/2014 at 02:50

    King SteJ
    I can see that 🙂


    • Ste J

      25/03/2014 at 20:21

      With a castle full of books, I would let my subjects do as they pleased as long as I wasn’t bothered, thus cementing my fame as the best king ever!


  3. Alastair Savage

    20/03/2014 at 07:25

    What is Lanark all about? I’ve never heard of it or Alasdair Gray.


    • Ste J

      25/03/2014 at 20:09

      Lanark is a kind of sci-fi autobiography in four books, the books aren’t in order and it is up to you which order you read them in. There is ‘right’ way of course but a mixed up reading keeps everything much more interesting.


  4. Christina ~

    21/03/2014 at 03:35

    I love this series of your life through books! It is so intriguing to read all the very varied books you have read…how they have added to you…your thoughts and your writing are indeed utterly fascinating. Life does have a way of all ways changing, never static. To see your writing expand as well as keeping your love of reading is inspirational to say the least. I, for one, am captivated by how books touch people…their effects on said person. We all start with one and the journey goes out in millions of directions and variations from there…depending on the person and their experiences/tastes/genres/etc.

    “That magical feeling of curiosity…” indeed. You know I *will* be exploring these titles and adding them to my TBR list that is growing by leaps and bounds thanks to you! I hope you will be happy to wear the blame I have placed on you for igniting my literary appetites… xxxxxx


    • Ste J

      25/03/2014 at 20:13

      It is mindblowing to see that although a lot of us come across the same books, the classics for instance, we all view them differently from what we have already read and through life (outside books) itself to a certain extent. It’s like the best Choose Your Own Adventure game ever created. I have more books than I really could justify including so it is good to be able to par it down for this series…part three should be with you very soon as well!

      I wear blame like a jerkin…or is it a bodkin? I’m not sure which one I mean, well either way blame as much as you like. I shall keep adding more books to your TBR, in fact just for spite i will never stop, ha! xxxxxxx


  5. LuAnn

    24/03/2014 at 12:21

    You have left me with a lifetime (well, a bit of an exaggeration) of books to explore Ste J. I am pleased to hear that you are freeing up more time for writing. The blogging community is most happy! 🙂


    • Ste J

      25/03/2014 at 20:18

      I’ve let it slide this last week, not sure what is wrong with me but I have been reading a lot…with lots of reviewing commitments, I hope to be getting back to my proper writing ways imminently!


      • LuAnn

        26/03/2014 at 12:51

        Whenever you return we will be here. 🙂


  6. Letizia

    25/03/2014 at 12:04

    It’s funny how something as annoying as chicken pox gave you the wonderful opportunity to sit home and read for a long uninterrupted period (probably contributed to the odd dreams as well!). I had a stay at the hospital last year and it gave me the chance to read Stephen King’s 11/22/83 uninterrupted (I would be annoyed when the Dr came in to take tests, haha! But then he saw what I was reading and got all excited because he had just finished it and was dying to talk to me about the ending!).

    Another move?? You’re becoming quite the nomad my dear friend….


    • Ste J

      25/03/2014 at 20:24

      I haven’t read that…years ago I used to wish I was ill or made unemployed so I could read all day. I haven’t read 11/22/83 yet…it is on the long list of things to get on and read!

      I don’t know if I will move but I am just more prepared than I have been before…I suppose it is just something that I became accustomed to, over the last few months. I feel like a life in flux sometimes.


  7. anna amundsen

    25/03/2014 at 19:23

    I enjoyed this short Life in Books series. Have to confess I expected it a bit longer and a bit more detailed.. But, there will be more of that when you resurrect Book Memories. 🙂

    Sometimes I am disappointed I get nothing out of many books due to studying literature, extensive reading and taste developing. I ask myself where all the good authors have gone and I doubt I have too high expectations. But then the right book comes along to reassure me and calm me down.. One of the recent ones was The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (in spite of me not being fully into the reading).


    • Ste J

      25/03/2014 at 20:17

      The series is lasting longer, that post was written last year and I didn’t edit it sufficiently enough to make it seem like more of a bridging gap…part three will be up this week with the final part next week.

      Being as analytical as you are, it must be tough to find substance in a lot of books, especially modern books…it is a great feeling to find the exceptions out there and restore faith once more..until you’ve finished the book that is!


      • anna amundsen

        26/03/2014 at 17:13

        My bad then. I am looking forward to the parts three and four. 🙂

        Yes, I am afraid that many of the books don’t leave a trace in my mind. And when someone asks if I read one particular book of that kind all I can offer in response is couple of weird sentences about the mood and whether it was any good or not.

        When I finish a good book not only am I reassured but richer with one more title on the list of books to return to! 🙂 As Susan Sontag defined – ‘Literature is what you should re-read’.


        • Ste J

          26/03/2014 at 18:28

          I know what you mean, I read the back, have a quick flick through and use generic sentences unless anything memorable happened. it is the curse of reading so much. If I don’t read something of a high literature nature soon, I must at least blog a review.


  8. Sheila

    26/03/2014 at 00:38

    I’ll have to explore the ones I haven’t read yet because I love so many of those you’ve mentioned: The Stand, Chronicles of Narnia, Journey to the Center of the Earth, the Dark Tower series popped out at me. For some reason, when I had the chicken pox I traveled back in time with Gone with the Wind and The Blue and the Gray. Your mention of A History of Britain made me smile because I’ve been slogging through Edward Rutherfurd’s London lately.


    • Ste J

      26/03/2014 at 15:26

      greetings! I’m glad that I caught your eye, I read an eclectic mix and I hope you find as much joy in them as I did. I haven’t read any of Rutherford’s books but I do have London somewhere, I think I will live Dickens’ London first though. I like your civil war theme…I need to explore American history in much more detail than I have already, perhaps it is time to start with that mahoosive civil war book that I purchased last year.


      • Sheila

        27/03/2014 at 15:56

        I’m enjoying London so far. Each chapter jumps ahead by a couple hundred years so the chapters feel like short stories. I’m glad I found you through Letizia – just one of the many reasons she’s so great!


        • Ste J

          27/03/2014 at 18:20

          I will have to find it out, room for my books has long since disappeared but I have a fair idea where all the boxes are at any rate. Letizia is indeed awesome, I bet she wears good shoes too!


  9. The Writing Waters Blog

    18/05/2014 at 20:14

    Wow, you’re a very impressive reader. And what’s more you read a variety of genres. Can’t get through the numbers you do, but I do enjoy the variety. It’s like visiting different parts of the world and ways of thinking.


    • Ste J

      19/05/2014 at 17:13

      I have so many more books to review but sadly so little time but I am glad that I can bring an eclectic mix to your attention. I will keep adding them as long as people keep reading. My book shelves are testament to the fact that I will not run out of material soon.



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