A New Way of Reading

Because of living abroad, I have many friends who have never been to my home and sometimes I forget how much a home says about a person. For those who follow my instagram interiors account @make_mine_eclectic, you will know my home by now and have a reasonable idea of my style and what interests me. Strangely though, I have several friends whom I have know for years and years who might not know me quite as well as they think.

One such friend and I were texting recently and books came up. He is not a big reader. I snapped a shot of our library wall and captioned it “We read A LOT”. Having never been to our home and seen how much space is devoted to books – not just the library wall but bedside tables, the coffee table, the kitchen bookshelves and the bookshelves in the children’s rooms and guest room – I supposed he didn’t know. As it turns out, he reads my blog and knows about the rate I fly through books.

Part of the reason I have been reading so much is due to a new method of choosing books

Our chat reminded me that since the end of my self-imposed reading-challenge, I have barely posted about books here at all. Part of the reason is that I have been spending every free moment reading rather than blogging. And part of the reason I have been reading so much is due to a new method of choosing books that I came up with.

So what have I been doing? Basically letting one thing lead to another without outside influence. Well, it started with a film, to be honest, as I was in a reading slump. I watched a couple of films starring Anthony Hopkins. He is so wonderful that I could hardly imagine the books on which the films were based could be better than the films. So I read them and they actually were! The Remains of the Day and 84 Charing Cross Road. It occurred to me that since he stared in Howard’s End too, I should read that, so I did. And that brought me on to A Room with a View – which I had read many times before but not for years – since both it and Howard’s End are both by E. M. Forster. Having moved away from my Anthony Hopkins theme and on to the author E. M. Forster, I began A Passage to India.

Each book has given me a little hint of what to pick up next. Either a situation in the story line or a reference in a footnote, the acknowledgements or the foreword triggers something that leads me straight to my lovely local bookhop to place an order. In this way I have build up a supply of books that I am really interested to read. So far, in the past few months I have been through

The Mitfords – the incredible letters of the six Mitford sisters to one another over the course of the 20th century, compiled by Charlotte Mosley.

Jane Austen at Home – a very well writen and well researched account of the life of Jane Austen by Lucy Worsley. While I enjoyed her own books, I knew nothing about Jane Austen herself .

The Children Act – a short novel by Ian McEwan about a female judge in Britain and the decisions she has to make. Excellent writing.

The Africa House – an account of the life of Stewart Gore-Browne, an Englishman who made Northern Rhodesia his home. A fascinating story, again incredibly well researched, told by Christina Lamb, which while non-fiction reads like a novel.

Just one book was influenced by external factors – Das Lavendelzimmer. The book was chosen by a friend as the first book for our local book club, starting soon.

With Educated by Tara Westover, Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford and Erebus by Michael Palin in my to be read pile, I doubt I will fall into another slump any time soon. And if I should, I will find a film to kick start my reading again.

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