Sunday, May 23, 2010


I have a discussion whirling through my mind; books, wonderful books that take us to places unknown, books that explore emotions and ideas that flit through the mind; to information tomes that are weighty in size and words. How do we personally categorise books?

At a recent book sale I purchased almost thirty books, novels, biographies; all books that I thought I would enjoy, or would give me food for thought ... one, The Boy in Striped Pyjamas, a small volume in size, but huge in all other ways. The cover was drab, the scrip disturbing. A discussion appeared regarding this book. My comment ... "found it different. I won't say I enjoyed it, as it was such a sad tale. But extremely well written and very readable" ... Another commented that they loved the book, and it was that comment that sent me to search my mind.

I didn't love The Boy in Striped Pyjamas. The story was excellent, the writing impeccable; it built up to a climax, one that we expected, but hoped to be incorrect in our expectations. I would recommend that book to anyone, with the rider not to expect to laugh, or even smile.

In saying that I had to explore my reason for not loving the book. It was the sadness.

Today the media concentrates on calamity. Sadness permeates our very lives and if we are caring folk at all, it makes it extremely easy to drift into a pit of despair. While I agree that we must realise that there is sadness, there is uncontrolled anger, it is my considered opinion that a high diet of sad reading material has a similar effect on our soul as obesity does to heart attack. Oh, I do read sad books such as The Boy in Striped Pyjamas, and I do not dislike such books. I simply do not love them. Love is a word filled with kindness and gratitude and caring; and while there was indeed a wonderful display of such emotions in The Boy in Striped Pyjamas, the over-riding sadness and certainty of that sadness simply cancelled that emotion out. Read The Boy in Striped Pyjamas yourself ... do you love it, or simply enjoy the book for telling a tale overflowing with sadness?

Of course the above begs the question, "What type of book do I prefer?" Once upon a time, when my hair was golden, not silver brushed with gold, I read widely, though upon reflection the choice was narrow. I preferred books that told real tales, biographies of people who discovered marvellous things, be that thing be land, or a discovery of the personal nature, or an invention. I read books about places; places I would have loved to visit, but never did; places that I desired to learn more about for obscure unknown reasons.

Why do some places attract one more than others?

Why does one book jump off the library shelf and not its neighbours?

Questions and more questions that may or may not have answers in books; but do we not search for books that add to our knowledge of how we personally desire the world to be?

No comments: