Monday, 18 November 2013

Book Reviews

I read a lot in my free time. Actually, allow me to meander for a moment as a thought crosses my mind. Isn't the concept of 'free time' a funny one? As if the time not designated for work, sleep, eating or otherwise labouring in this mortal toil should be 'free'. This demarcation of time based around labour, obligatory and voluntary, structured and limitingly unstructured has never felt wholly satisfactory to me.

I discovered for myself as a child that time can be split in more ways than that, and the choice almost always rests with yourself. For example, you thinking cleaning is work? Well, actually, cleaning is very calming, it's great exercise and, hey at the end of it you get to enjoy a room that is orderly and hygienic. What's not to enjoy about that? Mass? Mass takes an incredibly long time and you have to sit still listening to one man talk a lot about concepts like 'communion with Christ'. but hey, what a great opportunity to practice looking interested and reflective. These skills will serve you well in the future, especially if you end up in a meeting you have little interest in.

Likewise, many consider reading to be a form of labour, especially those who don't do it very often. But as soon as you learn to love reading, challenging yourself with new books, with unknown vocabularies and concepts outside your own world, you come to see that the world of ideas is limitless, spelling well is actually a doddle and an asset, and your imagination is an expansive and sometimes frightening thing. 

All of my fondest memories of travelling, being on planes, long car rides, sitting in foreign train stations, and coffee shops and the endless, endless bus journeys that are a prerequisite of living in the absolute middle of nowhere, including a book in hand, or in backpack, or on table. Books are as part of my life as my lip freckle and penchant for lists. I've spent more time reading books than I probably have cooking, or cycling, or swimming, and I love cooking and cycling and swimming an enormous amount.

I always make time for books, so it seems only right that I should include my love of books more on my blog. I've decided that after each book I read I'm going to write a short overview and opinion, and I suppose give it a mark out of 5 because that seems to be the done thing. I sometimes find myself coming back to a book a year or so later and wondering what on earth I found so great about it because, although I have a hazy glow of a feeling about it, specifics of the plot escape me. I hope these reviews will help to prompt my memory. I look forward to writing them, I hope you look forward to reading them.

This is actually an image from my old university, Trinity College, but I've never been in this part of it. What do you think that says about me, eh?

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