I always like to have a couple of books on the go.
I’ll be reading a non-fiction book in fits and starts throughout my working week (the most recent business book was ‘Essentialism’) and I always read a fiction book in bed for a while before I go to sleep.
It’s the bedtime book that is a recurring headache for me.
The Book Struggle Is Real
For every fiction book I finish reading, there will be 7 or 8 others I picked up and never finished.
If a fiction book doesn’t grab me in the first couple of chapters I can’t be bothered with it.
Life is too short and there are too many books to read.
It happens so often now I’m just jaded.
For a time, I was infatuated with Paul Sussman books (read all of them), but he tragically died a few years ago.
Or a Scott Mariani Ben Hope book. I still have a couple of Scott Mariani ones to catch up on but frankly, I’m getting bored of the same old formula. Yeah, Ben Hope’s OK, but I don’t really care about him as a character, the fact I can’t even picture him in my mind’s eye is a sure sign of my ambivalence.
I’ve always enjoyed Kate Mosse’s books (read all of them).
The trouble is, I’ve never found a style of fiction book or a particular author that I always enjoy and I’m tired of trying.
So, my bedtime reading has become non-fiction as well.
On A Break
After years of working at a strained and unfulfilling relationship with fiction books, in general, I’m on a break.
Right now, I have officially fallen out of love with fiction books.
If I ever was in love in the first place, or looking for love – it’s been unrequited.
My last two bedtime books were non-fiction and I loved them.
I took Monty Don and David Attenborough to bed with me and now it’s Sandi Toksvig’s turn.
It’s a month-by-month musing about the flora and fauna Monty experiences from his garden and farm in the changing seasons. In particular, he talks about birds. Sharing elegantly written thoughts, feelings and facts about our feathered friends. Even his writing is soothing yet authoritative, just like the man himself. And I was sad about Nigel the dog all over again, this book being something of a tribute to the familiar Gardener’s World golden retriever.
David Attenborough’s A Life On Our Planet
Part memoir, part record of a changing climate, part activism. If you have any doubt about the impact we humans are having on the climate, read this.
The first part is a damning and increasingly depressing account of how badly humans have treated the planet. How our arrogance, ignorance, ambivalence, and greed have decimated the natural world.
The second part offers hope and optimism and a plan to re-wild the world. It’s a stirring read and makes me want to go out and plant trees and shun all plastic!
We went to Sandi’s book tour event at St George’s in Bristol in October 2019 where we got a signed copy – in fact, that was the last event we went to before lockdown (now there’s a depressing thought).
She was an absolute delight. Just as you imagine she would be from seeing her on TV. Warm, funny, eloquent and wonderful. I love her even more now that I have finally got around to reading about her world view as seen from the top seat of a number 12 bus. I can hear her voice in the words.
This is an altogether funnier and more light-hearted book than David Attenborough’s, but Sandi still has serious messages to share, and lessons to learn – muddled with a little local history.
That’s one of the lovely things about reading non-fiction written by someone you are familiar with from TV. You literally hear their voices in the words, which is a real treat when it is someone you admire.
It was infinitely appropriate to hear Stephen’s voice regaling the reader with tales from ancient Greece. I can confidently pretend I know about Greek Mythology when really it was just through a bite-sized interpretation – but I felt terribly intelligent afterward!
Next on my book pile:
As a fan of his New Lives in the Wild TV series, this will be a good one.
I look forward to taking Ben to bed with me next 😉
One of the unforeseen benefits of this extended yo-yoing in and out of lockdowns is that I have more time to read. Not only am I taking books to bed to read, but we are also spending more time in the evenings simply sitting together in front of the fire, some ambient beats playing on the stereo, and enjoying the simple pleasure of just reading a good book.
What a worthwhile way to waste some time!