The Gifts of Reading

I was at a book reading (of The Rent Trap by Rosie Walker and Samir Jeraj) at David’s Bookshop in Letchworth recently, and because I have poor impulse control in book shops, I bought more books. One of them was an essay on giving gifts, specifically giving books as gifts, by Robert Macfarlane, called The Gifts of Reading.

In it, Macfarlane reflects on the impact on his life that books given as gifts have had on his life and on his relationships. He speaks about gift giving more widely and the power of giving with no expectation of return. The corollary of that is the ability to receive gifts with love. Indeed the book is more about gifting than it is about reading. It’s lovely. Reading it feels a bit like meditation.

The proceeds from the sale go to Migrant Offshore Aid Station which is reason enough to buy it, I think.

A Diary of The Lady

So, how do you review a book you didn’t finish? There might be a few more of these this year.

A Diary of The Lady by Rachel Johnson is an account of her time as editor of The Lady magazine. She is the sister of Boris Johnson, a columnist for one of the broadsheets, and a novellist. I got about a quarter of the way through before abandoning it.

I stopped reading because I found the writing dull and leaden. It could have been an interesting, funny story, but Rachel Johnson contrives to make it and herself come across as boring and unpleasant. Give it a wide berth.