I’m reading Faulks on Fiction, or at least, I started to before discovering that I was blind to much of the journey leading to his theories and conclusions as I hadn’t read the chosen books for at least thirty years. Books I hadn’t revisited because I’d already read them: been there, done that….
There are few books I regularly revisit and my husband will tell you that the one that gets picked up the most is A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich – an unassuming little pack of pages filled with words wrung from the despair of prisoners of the gulag. Teeth grittingly harsh yet glowing with the wonder of human resilience. I digress – as I always do with that chunk of pain – from the main point and that is that if you wish to peruse Mr Faulks’ criticisms with any hope of serious mental debate then it is imperative that you jump into and devour every single one of the books he has picked out. I can believe that having once read Faulks on Fiction you will either wish to revisit the books or keep them nearby for reference. If the latter then an e-reader will probably be best if only so you aren’t in danger of toppling the stack.
While I’m on the subject of rereading books I have to admit to emotional indulgence in my choice of bookshelf keepies. There are well-known and expected classics, such as Austen, Bronte, Dickens, Dumas, Flaubert, Wilde and Shakespeare (I’ll leave poetry aside as that is pure nectar for the psyche and in a class of its own) to name but a few, but I admit to more recent sugary additions such as the Twilight saga (which, incidentally, sits on my daughter’s bookshelf). That is the wonderful thing about books, they are tangible dreams that you can slip into and out of as the mood, and time, allows.
Happy reading. Long live the written word.