The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Reading to banish the nasties

laden bookshelf detailWhen I’m under pressure I dive into books.  Mostly novels and mainly thrillers as I want to be totally immersed in another’s world. Reading about people under far more stress than I am is an addictive diversion.

A good book is the potential killer of a decent day’s work. So I tend to keep them on the front seat of Jalopy to be indulged during breaks. Once when I was reading Donna Tart’s The Little Friend, I was forced to make a deal with my wanton reading gene. For each hour of decorating I earned five minutes with the book. Sometimes I saved up my imaginary tokens and spent 20 minutes closeted with the book but generally I took the quick fix five minute option. I can remember the weight of the book, the torment of trying not to get paint on the pages, the slow build up of the plot and the amazing conclusion.

I can recollect the process of the real job too, the intricate cutting in and the fact that Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar was being read on the radio (this was back in the days when Oneword was still a DAB channel and I was vicariously catching up on great reads). It was an intense week.

I’ve just finished John Grisham’s The Broker and am planning to pass it on to my last client who spotted it lolling on Jalopy’s dashboard (just five pages to go). Now I’m reading Nicci French’s The Red Room – so beautifully crafted that I’m back to the five minute rule. I managed to put it aside to write this post this evening, when I got in from work. In fact it was carried upstairs immediately to the bedroom to tempt me up to an early night.

Good books infuse. They make a great day better and can turn a bad day around in a trice. Powerful stuff.

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  1. I have the Poisonwood Bible but haven’t been able to get into it. I should give it another go. I have, however, read pretty much everything else by Barbara Kingsolver. 5,000 Mile Garden is also a good read – it’s the letters between an English man who oversees a private garden in one of the squares in London and an American woman. Their letters detail their plans for their respective gardens over the course of a year. It is surprisingly compelling reading. I haven’t got the details of the authors as my broadband connection is down and I’m currently at the local library.

  2. melanie

    I adore books, and have my very own book room, which houses my 1000 plus books, and I love sitting in there, going through all my books, and deciding which I will read next.

    I love reading books with an English Countryside theme to them, Flora Thompson, Elizabeth Gaskell, Alison Uttley, and I am currently reading the novel ‘Still Glides The Stream’ by Flora Thompson and it is wonderful.

    There is nothing better than a good book.

  3. Belinda

    Thats me… escapism… it has its good points, doesnt it? 😉


  4. Ah, the life of those with severe nearsightedness-:-( I am like you, Pamela, becasue I cannot read without the book being that close to my face either!

  5. I seem to read mostly gardening-books now…and the occasional cooking-magazine. But a good novel is really a treasure. I too liked the Bell Jar – although it is many years since I read it now.


  6. The Chicken Lady

    The Poisonwood Bible is one of best books I have ever read, I have just recommended it to a friend,who to my delight is also loving it. So I too will seek out the Prodigal Summer.
    The only problem with books is that if its a book I,ve enjoyed I can,t bear to part with it, so I have an attic full of them.

  7. Lindsay

    I love reading in bed but cannot settle during the day with a book. Regarding the comment by Pamela – will investigate that book by Barbara Kingsolver – I was bowled over by her book ‘The Poisonwood Bible’

  8. paula luckhurst

    “I want to be totally immersed in another’s world. Reading about people under far more stress than me is an addictive diversion.”
    I understand you so well.
    I have a too much active life and sometimes I feel so depressed and frustated because of that. The solution is to go to another world, mainly before I go to sleep. And because, most times, I can’t have the lights on because of the Mister, I read them inside my head. Silly stories that I invent just to take me to the no real world for some moments.
    In times when I’m better, I just stop that reading. And I read less even real books. Novels, I mean. The non fiction, I can’t stop reading them.
    And seeing movies.

  9. There’s nothing better than to read a day away every now and then!

  10. My ultimate treat is to spend the whole day in bed, with lots of pillows, reading a good book from cover to cover. It has to be in bed because then I don’t need my glasses as I can comfortably keep the book the 6 inches from my nose which is as far as I can see. Have you read “Prodigal Summer” by Barbara Kingsolver? It’s not a thriller but it is one of my favourites. I had to buy a second copy after the first one was lent to a friend and never came back. I haven’t been reading quite as much as usual recently as I have been knitting somewhat obsessively for several months now.

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