Books are one of my favourite things, but sadly also one which gets axed when life gets too busy. *Gasp* ‘Too busy for a book?!’ I hear you cry. Well, yes, sometimes – and I always have a long and growing ‘To read next’ list. I blame this job lark getting in the way of bookish intentions. Oh,to be a happy-go-lucky-carefree student type again, where the day is truly your own and you can do what you jolly well like, when you like. When days were spent reading… (or snoozing with my head on the book which I started reading)
Tales of adventurers have always bagged top slot – like I said yesterday, you always look out for your own. So any crazy with a good yarn to spin about scaling mountains, trekking the length of Africa or bobbing about on the ocean will often get a once over and generally find their way to my stock pile.
Recently my old (less of the old, I hear her say!) junior school headmistress recommended reading Michael Morpurgo’s ‘Alone on a wide wide sea’, noting that I could have written it myself. Interesting, I thought – and in a procrastinating moment I had ordered it from Amazon and by the next day it was ready for reading. Beautiful cover – anything with a wave generally gets a smile and then an albatross, as well? Already I’m hooked. The title gave away some of the connection – the soloing at sea theme again, and so I set about making the time to read it.
A few late nights and the journey was, sadly but happily, over. During which time I had travelled to Australia and back again and seen some of my own story coming to life in the narrative of Arthur Hobhouse and his daughter Allie. I laughed and I cried my way to the back cover across the waves, having looked within myself to the dark holes, but also looked forward to good times ahead and the memories of bygone days. Good books do this to you, don’t they? Take you outside of yourself to see the bigger picture but encourage you to examine yourself from within, too.
I don’t want to give the plot away so, for now, I’ll keep mush – but these are a few themes which stood out for me and might intrigue you enough to pick up a copy, too:
* Albatrosses are both mighty and meek – they inspire but readily expire if they get too close to fishing hooks (see my Green & Blue links)
* The importance of telling stories to keep memories and people alive within other people – both Allie and I are journeying in our respective Dad’s memories, alive in their spirits and in a very watery way across the oceans (uncanny!)
* Survival at sea is a mind game – you need bottomless reserves of stubborness, resilience and humour to make it to the other side. Oh and good singing lungs for keeping yourself entertained and vaguely sane.
* Adventure and excitement always stokes the fires of life, even if the excitement is super scary
* Hope and self-belief, hope and self belief, hope hope hope hope hope, hope and self belief. If you take nothing else with you on the journey, then a dollop and a scoop of these will go a long, long way.
Happy reading, folks.