One of my favourite books as a child was John Masefield’s “The Box Of Delights”. If you don’t know it, the story is a children’s fantasy novel about a boy struggling to hold the power of a magic box which allows whoever owns it to be shrunk in size and experience the wonderful delights inside the box and to be able to visit the past.
I mention it because the internet and particularly blogging and social interaction media like Twitter, have become a ‘box of delights’ for me in the weeks since I discovered them. I know that there are many irritations, frustrations and concerns about the internet but through other people’s blogs and tweets I’ve already found out about so many books that I wouldn’t otherwise have read.
In the relatively short time I’ve been reading other people’s blogs about books and writing I’ve been amazed just how many people are out there with a love of books and reading and there’s no doubt some have already started to influence me and subtly alter my reading preferences (for example, through Book Snob’s blog I have rediscovered Robert Graves and am about to embark on Siegfried Sassoon’s diaries, through dovegreyreader’s blog I have discovered Adam Mar-Jones and thanks to Random Jottings, I’m about to take a deep breath and then dive tentatively into the world of Mapp and Lucia!!)
A twitterer (or is it tweeter – who cares?!) I follow is Savidge Reads, who has also just re-started his blog (though I’m new to it). Through that I picked up on a podcast called The Readers which I’ve started to listen to and because of that I found several other book and reading related podcasts that I’m starting to check out (last night I enjoyed listening to the World Book Club interview with Carlos Ruiz Zafon – great stuff!).
In addition to the podcasts, The Readers is planning a Summer Book Club and they’ve just released the titles. The format sounds like a combination of e-mail exchanges, Skype discussions and podcast interviews with each of the eight authors on the list. It sounds like a great idea and yet again has led me to books I wouldn’t otherwise have discovered. There are eight titles on the list.
Pure by Andrew Miller
The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan
Packing For Mars by Mary Roach
Now You See Me by S.J. Bolton
Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord
Bleakly Hall by Elaine di Rollo
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan
I’ve read two of them (Pure, which I finished yesterday and of which more later, and Half Blood Blues, which I read last weekend and which again more of later!). The other six have added further to my reading travels because I may not have come across them otherwise and they are now on order!
The Readers Summer Book Club confirmed yet again for me that discovering blogging (as I write that I am cringing because I can imagine anybody reading it thinking ‘How the hell can he only now be discovering blogging?!! Where has this man been?!!!!!!’ – Answer Dont really know!), and discovering Twitter (yes I know, same questions and same answer!) has been a real “Box Of Delights” for me and one I’m really, really, glad I opened!