8th March 2010
Do you like reading? I love a good book and am never without one, although not all of them have been good obviously. In the main most are enjoyable, although there have been some real stinkers but there have also been some absolute wonders. In the stickers department, to name but a few, I would have to nominate Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel, The Death of Vishnu by Manil Suri and The Mystic Masseur by V.S. Naipal as some of the worse, although I did manage to battle my way to the end of these unlike My Invented Country by Isabel Allende, a book which I decided life was just too short to waste reading any more.
As for the books that have been wonders I am not sure where to start. Firstly the list is exceptionally long and varied but it’s also something that is constantly changing and evolving. Asking me to name my top 5 or 10 is like asking me if to choose between tea or coffee or red and white, it would depend on my mood and what I fancied at the time and books can be like that too. There are so many that I have loved and for many different reasons that I find picking a short list almost impossible, I mean how do you choose which ones to leave out, let alone which ones to put in.
So I am tempted to write a list here and now, as I suddenly have all these book names flooding into my mind, but I am going to resist the urge as I think to really do it justice it then it needs a post all of its own and probably more than one at that. However it seems unfair not to mention a single one at this point, so here goes; The Red Tent by Anita Diament, To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee, The Old Man and the Sea by Hemmingway, and ooohhh….The Diving Bell and The Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby, in my opinion a little slice of literary heaven. Just a tiny, tiny sample of the list that swirls around in my brain, and I am now wondering if maybe a mini post once a week championing a book I have loved might well be called for……Watch this space!
Now, when I started this post my intention was to share with you a book I had just read but then I got onto the subject of books and reading in general and 3 paragraphs later and I haven’t even mentioned the book I came here to tell you about. Apologises for that and here goes on my original intended subject, The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
Do you like a ghost story? Not a genre I would usually choose to read but I heard good things about this book and knew that it had been made into a very successful stage play in the West End (London’s answer to Broadway for all my American readers) and so when I came across it in my local library I thought I’d give it a try. I am not sure you would call it a novel as its only 160 pages long, so more of a novella I guess. (What constitutes a novel as opposed to a novella anyway I wonder…..) However don’t be fooled by this books size, it maybe a little on the small side but it has a real depth and intensity too it.
The story is told by Arthur Kipps, who even after many long year has pasted still finds himself deeply affected by his experience at Eel Marsh House and his meeting with the Woman in Black and so, in an attempt to help him rid himself of some of his ‘ghosts’ he decides to write his story down. I am not going to give the plot away but if you like a good ghost story then this book is for you. Susan Hill’s depictions of the local village, its people, the marsh and the house on the marsh are brilliant and the whole story has a real chill to it which culminates in a rather shocking end. There are, in my opinion, a few minor loose ends that are never really answered, for example, how and why had the recently deceased Mrs Drabble of Eel March House managed to live with the ghostly presence of the Women in Black for all those years? But all in all this is a cracking little story and if your easily spooked then I recommend not reading it late at night when you on your own. Even me, who am not usually bothered by this kind of thing, had to put an extra light on one night while I reading the scene in which Arthur is woken up during the night! Does this book get into my list of ‘wonders’? Well no, but it is an enjoyable little read nevertheless and I am intrigued as to how it converts to the stage so if anyone out there has had the pleasure of seeing it then drop me a line and let me know whether it is worth a visit into the ‘big smoke’ or not?
Happy reading sexy people!
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