Falling in love for the over forties: The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

 

Falling in love is the best, isn’t it?

The anticipation when the object of your desires draws near. The raised heartbeat, the sweating palms, the desire to spend all day, every day in your loved ones company, denying all others. You can’t eat, you can’t sleep, all you can think about is them and the next time you’ll be reunited. And when that moment finally comes, when the two of you are alone, slipping between the sheets, your fingers clumsy, hungry to run over those silken pages, to open that glossy cover, to let your eyes feast on what’s inside …

I’ve loved many authors over many reading years – Susan Cooper, Alan Garner, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, later Margaret Atwood and Sarah Waters and Neil Gaiman

Yes, I’m a fickle soul, but what can I say? The heart wants what it wants.

Recently, I’ve begun a new affair with David Mitchell’s Booker longlisted The Bone Clocks. I’d like to describe to you what it’s about, but I’m only halfway through and to be honest, I’m not entirely sure myself.

There’s a teenage runaway and a predatory, swindling Cambridge undergraduate, a conflict-addicted roving reporter covering the war in Iraq and a supernatural fight between good and evil – I think.

Social commentary, love lost, fantastical horror, life and death and a family wedding – all things that keep the reader engaged.

But it’s Mitchell’s writing that’s drawn me in. Rounded characters, genuine shocks and terrifying threat – both those otherworldly and all to familiar from the evening news – make us care and sympathise for his protagonists, even those who are in the wrong, even as they’re performing the most heinous acts.

To say I’d love to be able to write with his skill and intelligence, handle a range of settings and styles and manage to hold the lot together without it falling into a mess, is an understatement.

Have I found another author to love, another to add to the list and me so damned cynical and middle aged? Perhaps I’ll only know once the last page has turned.

Like love, I don’t know where this story will lead me in the end, but for now I’m just enjoying the ride.

 


Have you recently discovered a new author to love? Did you think you’d never love again, but found a book that sent your heart a-beating as if you were a teenager in the first throes of bookish passion?

Link : What the late Ursula K le Guin thought of David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks.

 

 

 

Gifts for book lovers – tat or tremendous?

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Imagine this is your home. Maybe it is your home, in which case, I do apologise for intruding and I’ll let myself out.

But on the off-chance it isn’t your home – imagine it is.

You love books, but maybe you’ve taken your love too far. Maybe a delightful hobby is tipping over into looming divorce, supervised visits with your kids and knocks on the door from the local mental health nurse and a TV crew from one of this programmes about hoarders.

Someone bought you a Kindle (other e-readers are availabel) but you didn’t take to it. There’s something about the damp, fusty scent that makes your soul sing, the rough tingle of the paper under your fingers, the weight, the heft, the history of a real book that connects with you in a way a screen and its faux type can’t.

So, your home is filled with books you can’t part with and if you bring one more into the house you’ll be sleeping in a Youth Hostel with nothing but a spare pair of pants and your tooth brush for company. What do you do? What do you do to keep feeling that thrill?

Do you buy literary gifts instead?

A quick stroll through the back alleys and ginnels of the net and you’ll find whole sites dedicated to gifts for book addicts – that aren’t books. You can buy jewellery made from print, mugs with famous book covers and quotes on, bags, scarves, ties, cushions and cufflinks all with some reference to your favourite book or author.

The hippest site is Red Molotov, who I knew sold tee-shirts with oblique references to TV and films, but also have a book-themed range. In-jokes and cliqueness abound. For instance, there’s a tee-shirt listing the surnames of the characters from Room with a View which reads as nonsense to anyone unfamiliar with the novel.

Clever or smug?  I can’t decide.

What do you think of gifts for book lovers that aren’t books? Do they make your heart soar or sink?