It was book club today and the book we were discussing (in between gossiping about what we’ve been doing recently, news, chat, and other books we’ve been reading) was Bookworm by Lucy Mangan. It’s subtitled A Memoir of Childhood Reading, and its an account of the books read through childhood by Lucy Mangan… The blurb says:
‘When Lucy Mangan was little, stories were everything. They opened up different worlds and cast new light on this one. She was whisked away to Narnia – and Kirrin Island – and Wonderland. She ventured down rabbit holes and womble burrows into midnight gardens and chocolate factories. No wonder she only left the house for her weekly trip to the library. In Bookworm, Lucy brings the favourite characters of our collective childhoods back to life and disinters a few forgotten treasures poignantly, wittily using them to tell her own story, that of a born, and unrepentant, bookworm.’
I was quite interested in the idea of biography through books, but I’m sorry to say I struggled my way through it, and if it hadn’t been a book club book I would have abandoned it. We were only a small group today for various reasons, but one other person gave up halfway through and another hadn’t finished and was struggling to do so, and we all felt a slight sense of disappointment. Reading reviews of it, the rest of the world seemed to love it. Next time we meet, no doubt our missing members will share their thoughts and I hope some of them did enjoy the book, so we can hear their opinions on it.
What we all agreed was interesting was the list of books Lucy Mangan mentions, reminding us of books we read as children and liked/loved/were influenced by. We spent quite a while talking about those books from long ago, rather than the current one we were supposed to – but that’s the way our book club seems to go! I was intrigued by the premise of it – for a long time I’ve tried to think of how I could write about my own childhood and life, have made several attempts but found none which I felt worked. I’m not going to write my own life through books I’ve read – it just made me think there are different ways of approaching biography.