The Book Keeper

  Recently, talented writer Linda Grant spoke in The Guardian about how she had to “kill her books” as she downsized to a new flat with much less room for bookcases. You can read the article here. Although for very different reasons, my husband and I are downsizing in just over three weeks time, moving from a large five bedroom detatched house in rural Aberdeenshire to a small three bedroom end terrace in a tiny Argyllshire village. In our current house there are bookcases everywhere. The only rooms without books are the bathrooms. We have a shelf in the kitchen chock full of cookbooks, a bookcase of writing and social media books in my study, novels in the two living room bookcases and art and reference books in the dining room. My daughter’s room has...

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Reader’s Block

I can’t read any more. I haven’t lost my ability to decode the squiggles on a piece of paper or computer screen, rather, I have lost interest in reading. And as a writer, that is worrying. I started a book a couple of weeks ago, Anno Dracula by Kim Newman. It’s a fantasy built on the premise that Queen Victoria married Count Dracula after Albert died and is peopled by characters from classic literature of that time – John Seward, the Harkers, Sherlock Holmes, etc. – and on the surface ticks all the boxes for me. Yet….I put it down after 150 pages, disinterested to read more. Undeterred, I start another book I had on my Kindle for a while, Apostle Islands by Tommy Zurhellen. I read and loved the prequel to this book, Nazareth, North Dakota, and was so...

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Reading a Book: it’s a journey, innit?

Are you a corner folder, an enveloper or a proper bookmarker? I want to know how you keep your place when you are reading. For years and years I would place whatever I had to hand between the most recently read pages of my book, reluctant to do anything to damage it. I love my books; I define myself by my books and have bookcases in almost every room of the house, each one full to brimming, as well as a Kindle stuffed with titles yet to read. Why would I want to vandalise something which means so much to me? Then I started to share books with my daughter. While she was always respectful of my books, when I borrowed one of hers it was dog-eared, spine-concertinaed and the pages annotated by her thoughts on the text. The book was totally and irrevocably Claire’s...

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Clean Sheets and a Handy Vine

[tweetmeme source=”nettiewriter” http://www.URL.com] My good friend had Sebastian Faulk’s Birdsong ruined for her because one of the characters managed to strip a bed, wash and dry the sheets and make it back up again in the course of an afternoon. “I have difficulty doing that now with all the mod cons in my kitchen How the heck could she manage that at the beginning of the 20th century?” While this niggle went right over my head when I read it, I do understand where she is coming from. In some books and movies there is often a small sticking point that we just can’t get over and spoils our enjoyment of the story. My husband can’t read fantasy novels involving swords and magic. “If they are so damn magical,” he asks, “why do they need swords?” My...

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