This evening finds me filling an Amazon tablet with books, movies, and music ahead of a week spent largely offline. A week away from the internet. A week filled with cheap wine, the beach, sunburn, swimming pools, playing in the surf with the children, Dad dancing in the hotel disco, and otherwise doing as little as possible.
I’m taking paperback books to read on the beach – I picked up the box sets of “Talon” by Julie Kagawa, and “Red Queen” by Victoria Avehard. They get middling reviews on Goodreads, but I tend to think my bar is much lower than most – just having the time to read is a victory of sorts. I’ll also sneak “This Side of Paradise” into my bag – by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
I’ve always been drawn towards classic books. I suppose it’s really down to curiosity – to find out why they are thought of as classics – to read them for myself, and make my own mind up. About ten years ago I worked in London, and endured four hours on trains each day – I filled those hours with all manner of books – famous books, infamous books, banned books. I read “Lolita”, “Tropic of Cancer”, “Catch 22”, “Stranger In a Strange Land”, “Anna Karenina”, and many more. I tried to read “Moby Dick”, and failed. I often thought about starting on “War and Peace”, more to say I had read it than because I was really interested in it. I still haven’t read it, ten years on.
I really haven’t read much at all over the last ten years – largely because children entered our lives, but also because the internet almost totally eclipsed books. I’m wondering now if the shadow cast by the inumerable distractions of the internet is finally passing, and allowing books a second chance – for me at least.
While wandering around the local bookshop last weekend, I couldn’t help noticing that nobody had a mobile phone in their hand – nobody was gazing at a glass screen while stumbling forwards like the army of zombies on the pavement just outside the door. It struck me that I much prefer the book shop people to the people outside.
This isn’t helping me fill the tablet with anything, is it. If you’ve read a good book recently though, I’d love to know.