Looking 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 become 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.
My 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.