My love of books took a disturbing turn for the worse yesterday. Whilst those that know me well (at least well enough to have seen my room) will argue that this is not possible – the obsession is already pretty terrifying – especially seeing as I’ve had to provide my own bookshelf because student lettings do not seem to believe that a student might actually want to read, let alone own, books. However, when a book-0holic comes across and buys a book dedicated to what to read next, it can be described as a problem.
I came across this book in The Works – one of those shops that sometimes has absolutely nothing you would ever want to read, whilst on other occasions providing unexpected gems. This particular visit was a bit of a gem day. Trying to travel home after a friend’s wedding and discovering that on a Sunday the train back only leaves every two hours, I ended up going on a little bit of a morning stroll round Great Malvern (a very, very beautiful place). Thankfully it was late enough in the morning for more chain-type shops to be open and I was able to enjoy a breakfast of skinny latte and red velvet cake in Caffe Nero (yes, you get weird looks if you order skimmed milk coffee with a big lump of cake. It happened to be the best piece of cake I have ever had in a big-named coffee shop though!). In order to kill the time, and eke out my one coffee and slice of cake as far as possible, I sat in a corner and read a chapter of my book between each bite of cake and sip of coffee. Suddenly I realised; at this rate, I was going to run out of book before I got back to Cardiff! Disaster!
When I left Nero’s I was rewarded by the discovery that The Works that I had passed on my way up from the station was open, so I entered in search of a replacement book. I ended up with a bit more than I bargained for; two books of poetry, the aforementioned book-book, a biography and historical study of Jane Austen, some notecards, and a couple of notebooks. Plenty to see me back home AND to add to my already extensive I-own-this-so-I-must-read-it pile.
But back to the book-book.
Once I finished John Green’s An Abundance of Katherines (I wasn’t sure about this at first, but it grew on me and by the end I had really enjoyed it!), I began to shuffle through my new 224 page treasure trove, coming very quickly to the conclusion that I am extremely glad I bought it. The book has a strict no-spoiler policy, so there is no danger of finding out what actually happens in anything you might consider reading, it provides a mixture of critical and reader receptions, discussion points, background information, and Suggested Companion Books.
It is the suggestions that really get me excited. In order to widen my reading (After English A Level I suddenly discovered that I struggle to read chic-lit like I used to as the style often annoys me to pain) I have been making my way through a list that occasionally trundles its way round Facebook (or did, when notes were cool/used at all) – some form of BBC Big Read Top 100 Book List. My current total is 47 (I just finished War and Peace after two and a half years of struggle!). I really enjoy reading from this list, partially because I am a sucker for ticking things off of lists, but primarily because it is really teaching me about what I enjoy reading, rather than just going through what everyone else tells me I should be reading. Many of these books are included in The Book Lovers’ Companion, and the inclusion of suggested books is fantastic if you are looking for something in a similar vein (it even gives a little explanation of why each book is suggested).
Due to my weakness for ticking things off, I am now going through this handy little book and putting pencil ticks next to all the titles I have already read. Whilst I would love to finish the BBC list (and I will finish it!), this addition to my collection is brilliant for pointers when I want to find something else.