I’m hesitantly giving you a little peek into my soul. Today, as I’m sure you know by now (social media is awash with it) is World Book Day and I thought I’d take this opportunity to show you a few of my beloved books.
One of my happiest early childhood memories is being curled up in a chair for a whole day reading a Famous Five adventure. I can’t remember which one, but I do remember the solitary experience of losing myself in the book. That pleasure of transporting my mind to another place; of inhabiting the story; of imagining the scenery and what the characters looked like; of being totally unaware of life going on around me. That’s the power of a good book. These days, I usually read novels before I go to sleep. If it’s a particularly gripping book I’ll keep reading into the small hours. This is not a good idea but sometimes you can’t stop reading. I’m currently half way through ‘The Universe versus Alex Woods’ by Gavin Extence; it’s funny and charming.
The relationship you have with a book is incredibly personal – books have the power to shape you and to alter your view on life like nothing else. The photo above shows a fraction of the novels I love. These are the ones I could put my hands on quickly to photograph this morning. Jane Austen and Charles Dickens are high up on our shelves! If someone asked me to come up with a list of my top-10 novels I don’t think I could. Perhaps top-50… Perhaps. Compiling lists of books is contentious – almost everyone will have an opinion. My blogging friend Lynda has links to several great book lists on her blog today. She also compiled the brilliant reading list for Agnes which you can read here.
My career before children was in books: the last proper job I had was commissioning illustrated reference books for a leading publisher. It was demanding but creatively rewarding. Receiving an advance copy of a book that I’d brought into existence, hot off the presses, was such a thrill. But it could also be devastating if it had a mistake in it (no matter how many people are involved or how vigilant you are, it happens)! ‘The Perfect Puppy, how to raise a problem-free dog’ (above), is the first book I commissioned and it therefore has a special place in my heart. It has been many years since I worked full-time in publishing and my freelance work these days mostly involves proof-reading books before they go to be printed. I still love playing this remote, small part in a book’s life, though.
Most of the books I proof-read are cookery books. Cake books, ice-cream books, party food books, lifestyle food books, restaurant food books, healthy food books… There are thousands and thousands of food books out there and I have quite a few on my shelves. These three are the ones I use in my kitchen more than any others though.
Of course we also have a lot (and I mean a lot) of gardening books. These are the ones David and I refer to time and time again and we wouldn’t be without.
Are you reading a cracking book at the moment? Are there any food or gardening books you wouldn’t be without?