When we moved to London, we threw out SO MUCH STUFF. We thought we’d be moving into a pocket-sized apartment, and planned accordingly. It was hugely refreshing, and though we ended up moving somewhere way bigger than we had expected it made me determined to keep throwing things out.
I’m a natural hoarder, so this was a big step for me – and particularly when it comes to books. I have always had stuffed shelves, but I resolved that from now on, particularly since I get so many books these days, I will only keep them if they fulfil one of these particular criteria:
For my generation, experience is everything. Perhaps it’s a product of the digital age, where so much is at our fingertips, but intangible. Perhaps it’s a product of our desperation to display what an amazing life we’re having on instagram. Perhaps it’s a product of our comparative wealth and being able to own things easily. It’s probably a mix of all these things and more, but the fact remains. Experience is King. We want to be somewhere, to hear something, feel, taste or see something ourselves. And that is why books aren’t going anywhere.
I started a bookstagram!!! Follow me at @booksforthetrees for pretty pictures of books, book thoughts and more!
I had started to follow lots of other bookstagram accounts, and was part intimidated part inspired, but I’ve decided to go for it. If any of you are on there I’d love to see your posts too!
Picking up your phone is a new learned habit of our times. If you have a spare two minutes, you’re waiting for a train or your friend has gone to the bathroom, it’s what you do. You check Facebook. You check twitter. You check WhatsApp, Instagram. Or whatever. My friend calls it tip-tapping; just the general stuff that you do.
And it’s all pretty fun. But as a passionate advocate of reading, here are just three reasons why it might be better to pick up a book…
The battle for libraries is on! Obviously, I think they’re magical, excellent, exciting and necessary places (see my joy when I registered to my local library) and I really hope that they don’t disappear.
Two of my very favourite authors (unsurprisingly) agree, and have written wonderful pieces in their defence in The Guardian. They’re really interesting referring to reading in general, the imagination and the writing process as well. Read them below:
If I go to someone else’s house the thing I’m going to be most interested in is the bookshelf. It was always a disappointment to me when the bookshelves in stately homes were furnished with fakes – or multiple encyclopaedia volumes. Books say so much about a person, and I’m super nosy.
So, this is what I’m looking for:
Peggy and her father flee what she is told is the dying world to make a survival home in a hut in the middle of the wilderness. They exist there for years, their last traces of civilisation gradually dying, with Peggy obeying her father and exploring the natural world. In the future, Peggy tries to piece together her real life from the lies that she was told…
This book is a big deal. It’s title is fantastic. The premise could be interesting. But really, I found it all rather disappointing. Sure, it was quite a clever depiction of the negative power of a parent over a child, and a child’s stunted development. But really, I could see what was coming a mile off, and found it all rather sordid and disappointing. There was certainly something missing from making this book work.
When the infamous Lo-Melkhiin whose 300 previous brides died comes to her village to choose a bride, our unnamed narrator knows he will choose her sister, the most beautiful girl there. Determined to save her, she ensures she will be chosen, and journeys with across the desert. Plunged into a new world where death probably awaits her every morning, she finds that her sacrifice has bestowed her with powers that might just change everything…
I expected, and wanted this to be a retelling of Arabian Nights. Understandably, surely? But though a lot of the basic set up was the same, this story really was about magic, power and demons rather than stories. Which I was a bit disappointed by – I’ve yet to read Arabian Nights (SO I COULD BE WRONG ABOUT THIS WHOLE THING) but have always been fascinated by the idea of stories so compelling that they save Scheherazade’s life night after night. That disappointment aside, the story was pretty decent and kept me reading!
In a world where nothing is fixed, all buildings move on wheels and any pleasure can be bought at Smiler’s Fair, the travelling community that passes through the land, bringing excitement and trade and leaving behind a field of mud. There’s a girl married to a young man, a secret prince looking after goats, a murderous nomad and various other characters whose stories we jump into. But I didn’t get very far with them all…
There were some good elements to this book. I was interested by the world, and some of the story lines did start to draw me in. We had a variety of characters and I was interested to see how they might come together. But I very quickly decided that the overwhelming gory and explicit scenes were just too much.
It has long been a dream of mine to be a part of a book club… and after a couple of failed attempts, now I am. One of my cousin’s friends posted on Facebook talking about her London book club, I asked to join, and I did. And it’s great!
If you’re not already a part of one, here are five quick reasons to find and join a book club: