Saturday, 2 July 2016

June's Book Dowsing

Book dowsing success in June.


2009

Where did I find it?

The library

Why did I pick it up?

This is one of those books I've wanted to read for a while but never had the impetus to go searching for. When I picked this in June, it was with a sense of 'Now. Now is the time to read this'.

What did I gain from this book?

For some reason I thought this book would be quirky and light-hearted. Why I would have thought that when it has been compared to The Catcher in the Rye I don't know! My main emotion while reading this book was sadness and I cried more than once, especially at the end.

This novel was a reminder for me of how no-one comes to a story with a clean slate. We bring our experiences and worldview to the party too. This is the first fiction book with a main character with mental health issues that I have read since a nasty bout of anxiety/depression around a year ago, and the memory of this acted like a filter while I was reading. I felt for Charlie, his anxieties and his worries when things were 'getting bad again'. It reminded me of where I'd been. Because of that I didn't pick up on the fact that there could be a reason why he had the problems he did and when the discovery is made within pages of the book ending it was a surprise to me. I don't think that's a spoiler as other people who I have spoken to about this book have said it was obvious to them that the book was leading up to this kind of revelation. Anyway, this fact changed my experience of the book right there at the end and at some point in the future I will re-read Wallflower and see how different the story feels the second time round. 






2013

Where did I find it?

The library

Why did I pick it up?

It appeared in the right place at the right time. I'd recently seen some lovely yarnbombing in town and this led to me doing some research on the subject online. Also, with all the political storms going on in the UK at the moment, the desire to find a way to express my own personal politics in a non-threatening, non-pushy way has been in my mind. I'd heard the term 'craftivism' on my interwebs forays and it sounded like the kind of thing that I was looking for, a means by which people can have a voice without forcing themselves on others.

What did I gain from this book?

I learned that there's a community of craftivists out there who act together to highlight injustice and inequality in their own creative way. Betsy Greer coined the term 'craftivism' in 2003, defining it as 'a way of looking at life where voicing opinions through creativity makes your voice stronger, your compassion deeper'.Those are the kind of sentiments I need to hear right now.

I also liked a lot of what Sarah Corbett had to say, including:

'Our approach reaches out beyond the normal bounds of activism, providing a provocative, non-violent, creative platform from which to open up conversations'.

There seems to be a lot of shouting going on in politics at the moment, and not enough conversation.





1989

Where did I find it?

The library

Why did I pick it up?

Perfume is one of my favourite books. I haven't read it in years and it is always one of those I think I really must get round to picking up again and never do! My own copy went AWOL years ago (a hazard of lending books) and it's something I keep an eye out for in charity shops. Picking up this slim volume was a means of reminding myself of this author.

What did I gain from this book?

Beware the inner voice that would have you make mountains out of molehills.

Jonathan Noel has a very ordered, small life. He describes himself at one point as a man of resignation rather than a man of action. Everything is neatly regimented from when he goes to the bathroom in the morning to when he goes to work to what he eats and so on. One morning, something unexpected and out of routine happens and it plunges him into a spiral of anxiety that widens as the day goes on. Ever wondered what the term 'catastrophising' means? Look no further than this book for an excellent example. Things go from bad to worse and Jonathan convinces himself that he can never go home again. In a day and a half, Jonathan's storm in a teacup is over - but for that day and a half Suskind expertly weaves a net of stifling distress around his central character.

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