NEXT MEETUP: Friday 14th June 2019
BOOK: ‘No Friend but the Mountains’ by Behrouz Boochani (translated by Omid Tofighan)
I have a dilemma. How do I write about a book that I don’t like? Do I write nothing at all? I’m torn because I take my hat off to anyone who has written a book, published or not. I haven’t. I’m awed by the sheer will and determination one must possess to complete such a project. Right now, I don’t have it. Perhaps I may never have it. Although like a lot of people some part of me believes that there’s a book in me somewhere, at some future time in my life. Who knows? And if there is, will I have the courage to put it out into the world? Because it’s courage and fortitude and resilience that’s needed to open yourself up to not just critique but also criticism. Maybe the answer is to simply not include those books I don’t connect with for whatever reason.
The space I’m in right now yearns for more kindness and generosity in this world. If I put something out to there, am I responsible for the effects of that? Even if those effects don’t find their way back to the subject of my words? Yes. I am.
Here’s what I’m going to do. I’m only going to talk about books that I do like. Perhaps that looks like a 3+ star rating. And, give respect to all that put their labour’s out there for the rest of us to make of them what we will.
So, given this, check out my review on Richard Powers ‘The Overstory’ (create link to blog post). What a popular choice this was for a bookclub read even if we hadn’t all quite made it to the end, but the consensus was that we would all finish. When you read a book about the human exploitation of the natural resource of trees, it’s hard not to think about the merit of buying hard copy books. Some of us are unlikely to embrace the e-reader movement because the time spent with a book is as much a tactile experience as it is an emotional and intellectual one and each of these contribute so much to the experience of reading. Then there are those of us that for practical reasons like the lack of bookshelf availability, the ability to customise the text size and simple convenience are starting to be drawn further into the e-book world. I for one, can add just a little bit of guilt to the mix of buying physical books after reading ‘The Overstory’, but there will always be exceptions!
One of the topics that we discussed was books that have made an impact on each of us. It was fascinating to not only hear our stories but to watch each other as we talked about these experiences, each person’s face gave away so much more than our words could have done on their own. As a follow-up I’ve written a piece called ‘On Reading…’ featuring a tribute to some of my memories with books that have made my reading life to date so vivid.