I haven’t followed much of the Fifty Shades of Gray hype. Mostly because I haven’t read them, nor am I likely to. I have no problem with women reading erotic fiction, which is, I believe the attraction for a lot of readers, it’s just that I have read Anais Nin and DH Lawrence and plenty of other stuff and I think there’s much better out there. This is popular because it is popular, not because it is good.
So instead, I am going to blog about other books. Good books. I have just finished Why be happy when you can be normal? by Jeanette Winterson, which I loved. It moved me and made me think, as all her books do. And now I am reading John Banville’s new book Ancient Light.
The Sea was my introduction to Banville. I read it in hardback when it first came out and, like Winterson, I found lines which spoke to me. The language was sophisticated and beautiful, the imagery rich. And reading the first few pages of Ancient Light I am reminded why that one book was enough to place John Banville high on my list of favourite authors.
I love books, and always have. When I finish one I like to kneel on the landing in my house where the majority of my fiction collection lives, and pick the next book. Years working in a book shop, and an addiction to second hand book shops, means I have plenty I haven’t yet read – I am like a kid in a sweet shop trying to chose what to read next. I have to match the book to my mood and there are many books with scraps of paper poking from between their pages where I have begun reading, and not finished. Not because I didn’t like the book, not even because I didn’t want to, more likely because something shiny and new caught my eye and I, magpie-like, became distracted.
But I have a new plan: less telly, more reading. I began with Why be happy when you can be normal?, and it’s going well so far…