My love of books started at a very young age. As much as I loved making up my own stories, I enjoyed reading books just as much.
With my vivid imagination it was easy to get lost in the world of books and I would read almost anything that I came across. Once I finished a book I desperately looked for the next one as I usually felt a bit empty and sad when a book ended. It felt like saying goodbye to close friends and a world that started off as a place of wonder but as I got deeper into it it felt familiar, almost like a home away from home. A place I could visit to escape from what was going on in my own life. I do believe books also gave me a lot of life and social skills as I learned so my much from reading and they also fed my love for words! I saw new words, phrases and elaborate ways to build up stories.
Even books I didn’t enjoy I would finish, always in the hope they would get better.
At the age of 10 – 11 years old I use to babysit during the summer break. When babies take naps in Iceland they tend to do it outside as we believe our fresh air does them good and as the country is quite safe, we can leave prams outside and just have a baby monitor, or even an open window to be able to detect when the baby stirs! Therefore, when the baby I was babysitting would take its nap I would leave it outside but sneak myself into the library. I would then find an interesting book to snuggle up with. I spent hours and hours in that library that summer and got through a mountain of books. While getting paid!
My love for books is just as strong today but I don’t allow myself the luxury of snuggling up with an interesting book that often anymore as life is busy and there are tons of schoolbooks waiting to be read. However, whenever I go on a holiday I have this ritual of browsing through bookstores in airports to find the perfect book/s (depending on how long the holiday is) to read while I’m away. I read on the plane, at a hotel and if I am in a sunny place I read it on the beach and by the pool.
Last time we went on a sunny holiday I accidentally took three books with me that turned out to provoke quite strong emotions, so I sat and cried, out loud, by the pool, a few times! One because it had really sad parts to it and the other two because they were just so beautiful. The fact that letters on paper can have that kind of an effect is, in my mind, magical.
I can be quite old fashioned and one of the ways it manifests itself is that I refuse to read books on screens. I simply like the touch and smell of books. I also don’t think it’s the same to sit or lie down with a screen in hand. It just doesn’t feel right to me, somehow.
One of the things I love about books is that they keep giving. I, for an example, enjoy going to markets and second-hand stores and dig up old diamonds, books I may never have heard of and may never have stumbled upon if it wasn’t for those platforms. I think it is such a great thing, someone read these books, finished with them and then passed them on, for a reasonable price as well! Not only that, I lend my books to my family and friends and they lend me books as well. My grandmother sometimes gives me the books she has finished reading, the last one she gave me was a book I gave her for Christmas last year! Therefore, I think it’s safe to say they definitely keep on giving and they never really go out of style. If I read an old book, I find it interesting to put myself in the shoes of people that lived in a time when I was a baby or even when I didn’t exist. To put myself in the shoes of different cultures and times. By that I am not only talking about the storyline itself but the author of the book, where he/she was coming from when writing the books that they wrote.
Today I am going to cover a book that I have lent to all my friends that like to read in English and have come to me for something light and fun to read.
The book is called “Getting rid of Matthew” and is written by Jane Fallon. I had never heard of Jane before but as I was going on a holiday in 2008, I stood in an English airport looking for the next companion and came across her book.
In short, and the way I explain the book to my friends, whilst I try not to spoil anything but provoke an interest, is that it is about a woman that has had an affair with an older, married man. After a few years of an affair he leaves his wife and moves in with her. At that point she realises she’s not that into him and suddenly the glow around their relationship disappears and he becomes human to her, he has annoying habits and gets on her nerves. She feels stuck as he’s just left his wife for her. For curiosity sakes she goes to see if she can catch a glimpse of his ex-wife and accidentally, due to a clumsy incident, befriends her in the process, under a fake name, of course! She also meets his handsome son who is around her age and things get even more complicated.
This book is such a feel-good book! I opened it in the airplane and ended up laughing out loud, which is an achievement as I hate flying and find it hard to get my mind off the fact that I’m stuck high up in air and anything could happen!
The characters are well built and easy to relate to and throughout the book they are true to themselves. They really came alive. I never got the feeling of: “He would never say that!” or “She would never do that”. I could picture the surroundings and it was easy to forget that I wasn’t watching a film. It was very funny and excruciating at times, where I really wanted to step in and tell the characters not to do this or that as what they were doing was like a car crash in slow motion. You could just feel things wouldn’t go well but there was nothing you could do about it. Having said that, Jane manages to make all the awkward incidences in the story hilarious, often in a sarcastic way, which I love!
Every time I have travelled since I have tried to find some of Jane’s books. So far, I have been able to locate 4 of them. I have not been able to get my hands on her books in Iceland, neither in English nor Icelandic. For my birthday, last weekend, my fiancé gave me the book she published this year called “Faking friends” and I can’t wait to snuggle up with it while stuffing my face with homemade Christmas cookies.
The funny thing about “Getting rid of Matthew” is that I told my ex-mother in law about it. I had just finished it and was raving about it to her. How humorous it was, how well built the storyline was etc. She seemed to misunderstand why I loved the book so much, as soon after she brought me 3 books on affairs! They were very dramatic and nothing like the book I had told her about, apart from the affair part.
If you need a book to make you feel good, take you away from day-to-day worries Jane’s books are guaranteed to do that!
As I finished this semester today, my plan is to get my home back into order, get caught up in Christmas, enjoy my family and read at least 3 books!