I'm not planning to share every book I read in 2014, but, since I've got off to such a good start, I thought I would share what I've been reading so far. I picked both these books up for buttons in the same charity shopping afternoon. Lucky finds, the pair of them!
I was drawn to God's Own Country by the cover and then by the author's name. Ross Raisin?! Seriously, who could resist? While searching for the image for this blog post, I came across photos of Ross Raisin. Squee! He's a curly-headed, anorak-wearing sweetheart. I want to send him a survival package in the post and squeeze his cheeks. Ross Raisin... Anyway, I digress and do his book a disservice.
God's Own Country is such a sweetly nasty little gem of a book. It put me in mind of The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner, Catcher In The Rye and The Wasp Factory, all rolled up into one and regurgitated in a Yorkshire dialect. I mean regurgitated more in its biological sense than its literary sense, I should add. I don't really want to say too much about this book because part of the great pleasure in reading it was coming to realise and reassess your feelings about the narrator/protagonist, so I don't want to share what I thought of him, but if you're not averse to a little bit of nastiness here and there, you should definitely give this one a go.
I mentioned being drawn to God's Own Country by the cover and the author's name. I'm not sure what led me to pluck The Well And The Mine from the crammed shelves of Marie Curie, but the cover, the use of a dramatic snippet and the name of the author all kind of put me off.
In general, when choosing books in charity shops (which is where the majority of my reading comes from) I will tend to be swayed by reviews. Glowing reviews from certain newspapers (e.g. The Guardian) will almost always persuade me to buy a book - see Ross Raisin, nominated for The Guardian First Book Award 2008 as a case in point. Praised heaped high by glossy Magazines has the adverse effect.
The Well And The Mine had just two reviews on the cover, one of them being from... Marie Claire. Alarm bells were ringing and I honestly have no idea why I still went ahead and bought this book, or why I fast-tracked it to the top of my reading pile, but I am so glad I did. This was one of those books that just sucked me in and had me reading snippets in spare 30 seconds, holding the book in my hand while I waited for the kettle to boil etc. It had that lovely combination of being easy to read while giving you plenty to think about and it left me with a warm feeling of how wonderful people and the human mind can be, but not in any particularly dramatic way. It's just an all-in-all good read really. I'm going to pass it onto my mum next time she comes to visit.
Now I have to decide what to read next. I'd really like to keep this (small) run of enjoyable books going and keep my momentum up, so I think I might look through my stash and pick something of about 250 pages. That's the perfect length for a book, I think. Mind you, all the books that are springing to mind as contenders are a lot longer. Ah, well, we'll see, but I think I'll let The Well And The Mine settle in my head for at least the rest of today.
P.S. I don't make any money from those Amazon links, I just put them in to make it easy for you to grab your own copies of these if you fancied reading them. Click or don't click, buy or don't buy, it will make no odds to me :)