|Photo by LAUREN GRAY on Unsplash|
Shelf Life is a new personal meme to help me in my ongoing attempt to de-clutter my bookshelves.
(The unread TBR pile is another story all together!)
The aim of Shelf Life is to let go those books that I know I will never read again and to give them a proper send off.
- Does this book spark joy?
- Honestly, will I ever reread this book?
- How and why did this book come to be on my bookshelf anyway?
- When and where did I read this book?
- What are my memories of this book?
- Is this book part of a series, a signed copy or a special edition?
- Do I want to pack and unpack this book one more time? Or several more times, during what’s left of my lifetime?
- If I were to let this book go, would I feel regret, remorse or relief?
Saturday | Ian McEwan
- My current relationship with McEwan is best described as complicated.
- But back on the 9th Nov 2005, when I bought my copy of Saturday, our relationship was still more hopeful than not. Full of promise and anticipation.
- Saturday was the book that changed this.
- Except for the truly threatening, disturbing scene with the daughter during the home invasion scene, I remember nothing at all about this book.
- It felt self-indulgent.
- Curiously, my most recent read, Middle England by Jonathan Coe, mentioned Saturday in passing.
- The only reason this book has travelled me with for 15 yrs, through three moves, is for the simple fact, that my hardback edition has deckled edges.
- I LOVE deckled edges.
- No more! Saturday and it’s lovely deckled edges, will not get packed up and unpacked for a fourth time.
- Entered my life on the 25th October 1992.
- This was in the middle of my E. M. Forster phase.
- My E. M. Forster phase began in 1987 when I watched A Room With a View for the first (of many) times.
- Over the course of the next 7 or 8 years, I read (and watched) all of his novels, except for The Longest Journey, I believe.
- WAFTT was my least favourite.
- No need to revisit this one.
- Okay, I may not be able to part with this one after all.
- On the title page, I have inscribed my name, the date, 11th April 1991, and place of purchase – The Book Inn, Charing Cross Rd, London.
- I was badly scarred from reading Sons and Lovers at school. One of the few school texts that I hated with a passion.
- But in 1991, I was 23 and just starting out on my year of working and travelling around the UK and Europe, as young Aussies are wont to do at that age.
- Lawrence’s ‘naughty’ book, complete with erotic cover obviously appealed to my emerging adult self.
- In 2011 or 12, we saw an en plein air performance of LCL at Rippon Lea House in Melbourne. Full frontal nudity and ‘implied’ sex scenes were a feature of this particular production. Instead of being sexy, it felt rather awkward.
- It made me realise how immature this story really is.
- I may never read it again, but it’s one of the few London books I have. I wish I could go back in time and tell my younger self to buy a copy of Middlemarch instead, or A Tale of Two Cities or A Room With a View. Something I would happily reread.
- As mentioned in my previous Shelf Life, an English high school teacher friend, changed the course of my reading life during the mid-90’s. Another of the authors she introduced me to was Jeanette Winterson.
- I acquired The Passion on the 22nd July 1995.
- It utterly flummoxed me at the time. As well as astounded and amazed.
- I had never read anything like it before.
- Part history, part fantasy, part fairy tale, part magic realism.
- Napoleon, Venice, food and the fate of women throughout history – all themes I love in a book.
- But I wasn’t sure if this was a writer for me, or not…until…
- Purchased in Sydney on the 29th Dec 1996.
- The most extraordinary and memorable fictional memoir I have ever read.
- Great opening line: Like most people I lived for a long time with my mother and father. My father liked to watch the wrestling, my mother liked to wrestle.
- A devastating read, that made me realise I would be reading anything and everything that Winterson wrote in the future.
- Including her 2011 memoir, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal, which revealed the bits from Oranges that were real and which were made up.
- However, I’ve now read two versions of the same story, and do not need to reread either of them.
- What a find this one was.
- Picked up from the sale table in my local bookshop on the 11th May 2000.
- I still talk about this book and what I learnt about the Oxford English Dictionary.
- Subsequent Simon Winchester reads have not been so successful though.
- I found Krakatoa too dry, A Crack in the Edge of the World meandered too much and by the time I tried The Map That Changed the World and failed to finish, I realised that except for this one book, Simon Winchester and I do not go together.
- I’m too scared to read TSOC again, in case it alters my lovely memory of reading it the first time.
- I will definitely be seeing the new movie, The Professor and the Madman, later on this month (unless the reviews are absolutely dog. Which is possible.)
Shelf Life #2