Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Someone wrote a tweet that's given me food for thought all day. OK, he's an author so he's biased, but John Graham Cumming wrote that despite loving his e-reader, he misses the exchange of books between friends.

I think choosing a book for someone is up there with making them a mixtape (yup, showing my age now - and by the way there's another dying tradition). You have to really know someone well and scrutinise their tastes in order to get the perfect book.

I can map out my life in book gifts.

The first book anyone ever gave me was an illustrated hardback of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. It was a gift from my dad in 1981, and it became my favourite bed time story. I still have it and the best thing about it is the message he wrote on the flyleaf.

Aged 11, I got a proper dictionary (which is still the designated Scrabble dictionary chez-nous... I really should update that).

At 15 Wuthering Heights made me yearn for a Heathcliff of my very own.

At 29 a dear friend gave me Wrong Rooms, the memoir of a journalist called Mark Sanderson who describes the incredibly harrowing way in which he lost his partner to AIDS. It is still the most unflichingly unflinchingly candid yet eloquent account of love and grief in my possession.

Before we married my husband gave me a limited edition, handprinted book of poetry by a British Northerner called Hovis Presley. His beautifully gruff poem I Rely On You was one of the readings at our wedding.

For Christmas in 2006 I gave my mum a book of haikus and it inspired her to write one a day for the entire year of 2007.

I could carry all of these treasures around with me on one e-reader but somehow it's the smell of the paper, the inscriptions and, as Mr Graham Cumming says, the physical act of giving that makes them special.

What's your booklife?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

好熱鬧喔 大家踴躍的留言 讓部落格更有活力........................................