This just never gets old

I’m indulging in what is becoming a yearly habit – I’m rereading The Stone Gods, by Jeanette Winterson. Despite it being my favourite book, I continue to forget how perfect it is. Every time I start reading, it all comes flooding back. The sentences are delicious. The plot is intriguing and the characters feel more real than some people I know. This is how I would like to write, to write something so brilliant that it can make another person feel this way.

Gushing praise aside, I realised why I relate to this book so much – but not really any of her other work (I have tried; at least three of Winterson’s other books). It’s because the main character, and the overarching theme of the story is very much in line with my own beliefs. To be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if much of the way I feel about the world actually stems from The Stone Gods, rather than simply reiterating my own perspective.

It also reconciles my pessimism with the human race, with a huge dollop of hope, and the idea that maybe it was always going to be this way. That’s not to say I subscribe to fate controlling us, but as Spike says, “This is a quantum universe, neither random nor determined. It is potential at every second. All you can do is intervene.”

It’s that potential that makes me feel better about everything.

It’s not (all) about fiction

As a fiction aficionado, it may sometimes appear that I don’t read anything else. Having recently uploaded a large proportion of my book history onto Good Reads it does show that I clearly prefer stories to facts. But there are some important exceptions; I recently reread one of my old philosophy textbooks, which is about delusions and rationality (and is fantastic), and am currently reading the God Delusion. I realise I’m pretty late on that bandwagon, but Richard Dawkins irritates me so much I had to calm down before I could pick it up. Still not sure it’s a good idea, but some of it is interesting.

I also enjoy even less fictiony books; the last couple of books I got were a Rough Guides travel book – sort of an Argos catalogue, but for the world – and a recipe book for slow cooking. I don’t even own a slow cooker. But seriously, some of the recipes are really good and I like trying to make new things.

It all depends what you read for – most of the time, for me, this is entertainment pure and simple. It also helps to distance yourself from the truth of a situation; I really enjoy sad books, but knowing it is fiction can somehow protect you from the brunt of all that emotional pummelling.