Readers Gonna Read – Book Picks from a True Bibliophile

My name is Sophie and I’m a Bibliophile.

It’s okay – it’s not as weird as it sounds, it just means that I have a small (out of control) love of (obsession with) books.

These days, everyone is all “Let’s Netflix and chill..”, which is cool and everything, but there are still some of us out there who love nothing more than curling up with a good book.

It’s officially autumn, which means prime reading conditions are upon us, because while all bibliophiles love reading in every kind of weather, there’s something to be said about getting snuggly with a new hardback while there’s rain coming down outside. With that in mind I thought I’d share some of the books this bibliophile loves, is loving, and has loved …

 

Currently Reading

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman (2020)

I’ve been a fan of Richard Osman for quite some time, first discovering him in the early naughties on UK comedy panel shows like Mock the Week and Eight Out of Ten Cats, so when I heard that in 2020 he wrote a book (some people really conquered the whole pandemic lockdown thing) I was rather excited. Plus, it was a murder mystery – one of my favourite genres!

So far the book is not disappointing, Osman’s style of writing is not unlike his comedy – warm, witty, and wise, which he mixes seamlessly with the thriller elements that help make this a hard-to-put-down read (I’m just waiting for the 4-part TV series to be announced).

In a nutshell:

In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet up once a week to investigate unsolved murders. But when a brutal killing takes place on their very doorstep, the Thursday Murder Club find themselves in the middle of their first live case.

The Guardian called it “Pure escapism” and I couldn’t agree more. Since its release in 2020 it has gone on to become a record-breaking #1 best seller and Osman has written a second book I can’t wait to get my hands on, The Man Who Died Twice.

 

Retro Read

Sometimes it’s nice to revisit old friends and go back to a good book you haven’t read in years, it’s particularly fun to do that with favourite books from childhood.

I set up a community library outside my house during last year’s lockdown and it has been amazing.

We’ve had so many great books come and go and recently someone gave a Baby-Sitters Club book, and not just any Baby-Sitters Club book – the first in the original series! Kristy’s Great Idea, by Ann M Martin.

If you’re looking for a nostalgic trip down memory lane look no further! In this retro read The Baby-Sitters Club is formed by four best friends: Kristy Thomas (president), Claudia Kishi (vice president), Mary Anne Spier (secretary), and Stacey McGill (treasurer). Meet the gang and join the club!

 

The Non-Fiction Nook

Who doesn’t love a good made-up tale? However, sometimes, the truth is stranger than fiction, so I like to mix it up with some non-fiction:

Windswept and Interesting, My Autobiography by Billy Connolly (2021)

In his first full-length autobiography, comedy legend and Scottish national treasure Billy Connolly reveals the truth behind his windswept and interesting life.

In 2018, Connolly announced his retirement from comedy after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Windswept and Interesting is Billy’s story in his own words. It is joyfully funny – stuffed full of hard-earned wisdom as well as countless digressions on fishing, farting and the joys of dancing naked. It is an unforgettable, life-affirming story of a true comedy legend.

 

Poetry Corner

The shortlist for the 2022 Ockham NZ Book Awards was announced recently and among those on the shortlist for the Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry is Joanna Preston’s collection, Tumble.

She gripped lightly

with her knees, as she’d been taught. She didn’t

want wings. She wanted to fly on the thunder of hooves,

feel muscles surging beneath her. The word

in her head, matching stride – free-ee-dom,

free-ee-dom, free-ee-dom – as she bent low

over the withers, pressing her cheek

against the finial’s neck, her own hair

a mane, streaming wild in the wind.

– From the poem ‘Silks’

This beautifully crafted collection traverses the lyric, free verse and traditional forms. It’s earthy and embodied, while at the same time woven through with myth and magical realism. Always, the human heartbeat is at stake, as Preston explores love, loss, longing and lust – how we stumble, how we soar.

 

Books on Film

I don’t just love reading books, I love TV shows and movies about books! (I have a problem). There are tons of classic stories out there about books and writers and one my all time favourites is Wonder Boys, directed by Curtis Hanson and written by Steve Kloves. 

With a stellar cast (Michael Douglas, Frances McDormand, Toby Maguire, Robert Downey Jr), this undervalued indie-flick from 2000 is based on the book by Michael Chabon and tells the story of an English Professor who tries to deal with his wife leaving him, the arrival of his editor who has been waiting for his book for seven years, and the various problems that his friends and associates involve him in – all during the local University Book Fest… there’s also the issue of the dead dog in the trunk.

Subtle, silly, funny and moving, this film captures all the best and worst things about being a (or wanting to become a) writer with a dark sense of humour and a killer soundtrack – including an original song from Bob Dylan, I highly recommend it.

That’s it for now, but stay tuned to see more of my top picks for all those bibliophiles out there, after all, readers gonna read.