Sunday, 16 October 2011

Book Talk

Serendipity...a word that fills me with both that blissful feeling of anticipation, and yet also a small stirring of fear. Some of my favourite books and authors have been discovered quite by accident, and I wonder, what would have happened if I hadn't stumbled over them. The blog that has had the biggest influence on my life, Brocante Home, I discovered whilst searching for instructions for homemade Christmas crackers. Oh serendipity, you are both a blessing and a curse.

You see, the only way it really works is by letting go and just going with it. And yet when it happens, it is so good, that you want more, and it is hard to just let go and let things unfold.

For example, I may have mentioned, I have been working in a library I don't normally work in, and a week or so ago, they asked me to weed their modern fiction. (You take out books that have either not issued for a long time, or have got grubby, literally weeding out the books that won't issue any more). One book that jumped out at me was The Girl Who Chased The Moon by Sarah Addison Allen. It jumped out because the cover was just beautiful - blue, with a silver charm bracelet. Go here to see it and to read the beautiful 'blurb' on the back cover. How could I resist such a book? I took it home and devoured it, and then The Sugar Queen and I have just started Garden Spells. The books are whimsical and quirky, very much like fairy tales for grown ups.

The other book that jumped off the shelf when I was weeding was The Monday Night Cooking School, this time because it appeared that someone had spilt most of a cup of tea over the book, and all the poor pages were crinkled and brown. The cover illustration was pretty, but I nearly didn't take it home. When I flicked through the pages to see how bad the tea damage was, I noticed that at the start of every chapter there was an illustration of a different kind of vegetable, all in soft greys. So home it came, and I started reading it last night, and finished it in the bath earlier. I was a little afraid that it would be yet another in the line of 'something night something club' books that have come out recently. From knitting clubs to chocolate lovers clubs to Jane Austen book clubs to book clubs in general, name the club, and there seems to be a book about it! The first few I read were interesting, but they all seem to follow the same pattern, a chapter about each member of the club, their story and the overarching story unfolding together. This book was such a surprise though, it was a little whimsical, the writing and the language were beautiful, the stories sophisticated, and it left me wanting more. The descriptions of cooking and food are inspiring and beautiful. After I finished reading it, I closed the book with a sigh of pleasure, and looked at the cover. I was thinking that I was so glad that I had seen past the tea stains, and brought it home to read. Then, on the cover, a quote caught my eye...and it was by Sarah Addison Allen! There are copies selling for just 1p on do order yourself a copy here or of course you could see if your local library has a copy that isn't stained with tea!

So although I am mainly very happy to have discovered two wonderful new authors, and four books that have made my soul sigh with happiness as I read them, I do wonder, would I have found them, if I had not been weeding that day, or was I always destined to find them, or them to find me? What do you think, are there books out there that are meant for us? If we don't find them at a certain time, will we find them later? Or will we only find them later if we still need them? (In The Sugar Queen there are books that magically appear to one of the characters...I had been thinking about the idea before reading it, and I have been thinking about it more since then...)

Happy reading!


Carla said...

Oh, I am so very glad you enjoyed Sarah Addison Allen! Garden Spells is by far my favourite, although I think I have one still to read... may treat myself on payday to that :)

I firmly believe books are destined to find us, whether it's ones we'd never usually read lent to us by a friend, or a serendipitous find such as yours in the library, or popping into a shop when you don't have time to do any such thing and finding one of your Holy Grail books (mine are Enid Blyton circus books and I've found two in exactly this way, when I had no intention of book shopping).

Books are so magical, how could they not use some of that magic to find readers who will love them?


Dinahsoar said...

I think everything happens (i.e is allowed by God) for a reason. And had you not found those books when weeding--were it meant for you to find them--you'd have found them at a later time.