Friday, 31 March 2017

Recommended books

Is it just me, or is it becoming less common for people to lend books these days?

Personally, I feel it is becoming less common and I think the increased popularity of eBooks is partly to blame - after all, it's not easy to lend someone a book when that requires handing over your phone, Kindle, iPad, etc.

In fact, before last week, I can't remember the last time someone lent me a book to read.

Last week, I was genuinely surprised - and even a little chuffed!

You see, there's this group I'm part of. We are four people, who get together every fortnight, to chat in Italian. One of us is Greek, one Swiss, then there's me with my Anglo-Italian background, and the fourth member of our group is an Italian ex-pat who is a languages expert. Katia facilitates our sessions by setting the topic and the rest of us either discuss it, or individually deliver a presentation to the others.

We've been meeting for over ten years and it's been a wonderful opportunity to keep my language skills up to date. Over the years we have held dinners, gone to Italian movie festivals and shared the stories of our lives.

But never, have we lent books to one another - until last week. Imagine my surprise when my Swiss group-member - who just happens to be an eighty year old man - arrived with a book and offered it to me.

He told me that as a writer, I would appreciate the writing style of this author. The book, I saw a man, by Owen Sheers, I'd never heard of, but I took it gratefully and began reading it on the way home. (It just happened that I'd finished a book and was looking for my next).

The book was good, well, probably better than good. It went through a number of stages where I wondered what was going to happen next - always good, and at one point I thought, Oh this isn't going to end well!

As a writer, when someone tells me they have lent my book to a friend, I'm conflicted. I waver between satisfaction that my book is good enough, while inside I'm screaming, don't lend my book to a friend... buy them a copy!!

In truth, it's always very gratifying when someone loves your work so much they want to share it with friends and loved ones.

And ultimately, I want my books to be read. I can't tell you the number of books I've given away simply because I want them to be read, and hopefully enjoyed.

So, while I'm not likely to retire very soon on royalties, I think the idea of people lending books to one another is a dying thing and it should be nurtured.

Lend books. Lend my books. Lend other peoples' books. Doesn't matter - just lend and read.

If you've read a good book, tell the world. Life's too short to read books you don't enjoy.

Thank you Marcello for lending me your copy of I saw a man. I enjoyed both the book, and your sentiment.

See you in 14.

Rome - one of the world's most romantic cities
This photo is apropos nothing except that I love it. 

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