Pieces of my world

Monday, September 04, 2006



By my bed, on the desk, beneath my (dust caked, little used) desk lamp, quite a stack of books are accumulating. My bookshelves have overflowed and, having stuffed paperbacks into practically every nook and cranny, are fit to burst. My trouble is that I love bookshops (especially second hand) and books too much. On entering a bookshop, my eyes light up like those of a looter put before Aladdin's cave, while I suddenly acquire the demeanor of a wide eyed child faced with a dizzying array of sweet treats. My other trouble is that where books are concerned, I am insatiable- I never feel as though I've got enough; as though I've read enough (this inadequacy is helped by Mastermind and University Challenge, where my knowledge banks are well and truly put to shame).
So, sighing, I cast a critical eye over this ever growing stack of books, which were beginning to teeter precariously, and forced myself to be harsh. Right, OctoberPoppy. Which ones are you going to keep, and which ones are you going to send to the local charity shop? It happened that the first book I picked up was "Cherry" by Mary Karr. Oh, no dispute, that'll definitely be going to the charity shop, I judged in a flash. With a name like "Cherry", it's bound to be some trashy novel. I'll quickly skim through it and pack it off to Oxfam.
I should tell you now, I'm prone to these flash, instantaneous first judgements- and invariably being wrong.
Whaddya know? I was wrong. Terribly, shamefully, horifically wrong. Granted, it's about getting high, but what I suspected to be pulp fiction, written in shoddy language, turned out to be one of the best reads I've had in a while. Better than "Wide Sargasso Sea" [Jean Rhys]. Better than "Lady Chatterley's Lover" [DH Lawrence]. Better, even, than "A Pound of Paper" [John Baxter]- which I've resolved to read again. Karr delicately constructs an image web through words, adroitly transporting the reader into her mindset and her girlhood world. The autobiography is unique, innovative, its descriptions strikingly poetic. For instance:
"The refinery gases pumped into the atmosphere left us manufactured psychedelic sunsets: the sun was a Day-Glo ball in the poisoned sky."
Isn't that fantastic? Well, I like it. No, actually, scratch that, I love that. Her writing is so evocative, conjuring up long forgotten memories of my own childhood (most of which are somewhat embarrassing and cringeworthy, perhaps explaining why they have remained so deeply buried for these years). This is a book which receives the (dubious) pleasure of having my name and the date scrawled in the front page (with which I stamp every book I'm going to hoard for the future years to come) and a place on my bookshelf (well, it would get a place if I had the space on those buckling shelves). So. Order it now and READ.
(P.S while we're on the topic of reading, check this out- I almost killed myself laughing...)


Blogger Kim said...

'Cherry' sounds like a book I'd really enjoy. Though as much as I love reading, I don't read very often anymore. Damn technology! I spend the time I'd used to spend reading now goggle-eyed in front of the laptop and/or tv. It's sad. How you speak of cramming books onto your bookshelf, is how I cram DVDs onto mine...!

2:30 am  
Blogger OctoberPoppy said...

I have that problem as well! I know, just know I really should be reading, but the lure of the computer proves too much! The worst thing is that the original "half an hour only" that you promise yourself quickly extends into 45 minutes...an hour...two...So, as a result, my book reading usually happens in a flurry of (guilt spurred) activity and so I don't read as consistently as I should, considering that I'm supposed to be an English Student!

I obviously have no self discipline :D

9:11 am  

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