Diving into a new book

I’ve just started reading a book by an author I’ve not come across before; I had high hopes, the blurb on the back looked interesting and intriguing, the setting also was at a time in history that I don’t know much about so I thought it would be a good way to learn something…

I started reading it a couple of nights ago… and its OK… that’s all… so far its OK… It’s not brilliantly written, but it’s not badly written either although some of the language is not very original, waking ‘from a fitful sleep’, liberty ‘hanging from a thread’ and it’s actually quite hard to bite your lips until they bleed… and moments later the same person was biting hard on her lips again, and yet the next day her lips were perfect…

However, I’m not thinking about what I’m reading at the moment, but reflecting on how wonderful it is when you open a book and the next thing you know, time has passed, sometimes hours and you have become so immersed in it that when you look up you hardly know where you are! It is even better when you do that, and then find that the author who has captured and imprisoned you has written other books, which, with any luck, will be similarly seductive. Sometimes, though, a book is so good, you almost don’t want to read another by the same author, in case it is not as good! ‘Catch-22’ was my favourite book when I was a teenager, and I was so disappointed when I read other books by Joseph Heller which didn’t grab me in the same way.

Sometimes these sort of books are not what you usually read at all, sometimes there is just something about a book which others think is rubbish which just strikes a note, or speaks in an unexpected way. Similarly other people’s most favourite author or novel can be the most turgid and dreary and irritating ‘read’!

Books which have grabbed me – not necessarily of any high-flown literary merit:

  • Oracle Night – Paul Auster
  • The Flatey Enigma – Viktor Arnar Ingólfsson
  • Dissolution (the first Shardlake mystery) – C.J.Sansom
  • The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
  • The Rivers of London (the first in the series) – Ben Aaronovitch
  • The Watchers: A Secret History of the Reign of Elizabeth I – Stephen Alford

There have been plenty, hundreds of other books I’ve loved and read and reread many times, but these are just a few which dragged me into them from the first few lines.


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