For the love of books

I love reading. I was one of those children that was happiest curled up in a corner with a book. I always had a pile of books on the go, up to ten at a time. These days it’s one at a time. I’m a bit slow in my old age.

And sometimes I don’t know what to read next. Do you ever feel like that? Sometimes I’m so overwhelmed because I know there’s a billion amazing books out there that I don’t know about and will never get to read.

My happy-place fallback is to go for stories about quaaludes, sex, rock n roll, roadtrips, opium, speakeasys, cheap wine – or preferably all of the above. Authors like Kerouac, Anais Nin, Kesey, Hemingway, James Ellroy, Tom Wolfe, Henry Miller, Bukowski and Hunter S Thompson (if you’re a Thompson fan, check out this GREAT interview).


Recently I branched out. I asked my FB friends to suggest some books for me. I was amazed by how many people responded and how enthused everyone was!

I ended up with some amazing recommendations and a great new wish list of reads

140325 reading list

It’s exciting to have some new and different books to look forward to!

Clearly I’m a bit old school when it comes to choice of reading matter. Not surprisingly, secondhand books with that musty smell are my preference. Finding someone’s hand written observation scrawled down the side of a page is akin to treasure for me. More intoxicating is a note that drops out of the book, or an old receipt, a postcard, a tattered shopping list. Love that shit.

I haven’t really gotten into reading on the kindle or iPad. I’m too tactile. And I feel like I’m at work. But my brother who has never much been into reading, has had the wonderful world of storytelling opened up to him through his tablet and downloadable books.

Technology is certainly having an impact on books and the way we consume them. Despite how much I love books and reading, I was ever so slightly alarmed by this article I saw recently: This insane new app will allow you to read novels in under 90 minutes.

Nevermind that it’s on a Gen Y website. Bunch of hyperactive little nuts.

But seriously, do we all need to learn to speed read? What’s wrong with sitting down for a leisurely leaf through a book you’re absorbed in, taking time to ponder?

Or as a reader am I looking at this all wrong? Perhaps it means I can get through those books on my wish list a lot quicker?

Hmmmm not sure.


Do you want to speed read? What books are on your must-read list?

Written By

Carolyn is the editorial director of Champagne Cartel and a freelance writer. In her spare time she is a long-distance runner, peanut butter enthusiast, and single mum to three incredible humans.


  • I have just started the reading bug again with high influence from my youngest daughter who is a total book worm. In her spare time all she does is read and read and her book collection is growing weekly.

  • I don’t read as much for pleasure as I should – too much of my working life is spent reading and writing books (and as a judge of an academic book award, I have about 40 books waiting for me to consider!). Instead, I prefer spending my free time doing crafts – making use of my hands – whilst I let rubbish on TV wash over me. But I have a 3.5 year old who is obsessed by books and begins each morning with a sleepy “can you read me two books?” before we even get out of bed. So to encourage his reading, I really need to be a good role model and start back in on the fiction myself. Any tips for good mysteries, Champagne Gillian??

    • Anything by Peter Temple! The Broken Shore is great (first crime novel to win the Miles Franklin), or you could start on his Jack Irish series. Fabulous stuff. He’s Australian so it might be hard to pick up in downtown Dublin but there’s this thing called the internet which is making shopping a rather enjoyable experience.

  • Well I’ve just nicked A Visit From the Goon Squad as my next bookclub choice – C, I think you might have contributed to a couple of my book club choices over the years! Gillian, I also have a loving relationship with second-hand books – I love the smell, the almost dampness of the pages, and the inscriptions – just quietly I feel smarter reading dog-eared books. Sadly, kids has meant less time to relax and lose myself, and I tend to feel guilty about anything I lose myself in. I’m sure this time will pass, but it’s been 2-3 book a year phase the last few (which means a lot of book clubs smiling and sipping my coffee). You’ve inspired me though!! x

    • Oh good, I think you’ll really like it, KB. I’m like you right now, struggling to fit the novels in, but I am beginning to find my stride again and loving it. I just have no patience for books that I don’t like, so if it bores me it’s gone after the first three chapters! (Or in the case of a recent example, one half of a farcicle chapter.)

  • I have just started reading again after a sort of hiatus, I have stopped myself from playing word games which I became totally addicted to. I can understand what Tara is saying, working all day writing and editing, you tend to avoid reading as you do it all day. That said, there are few things better than discovering a great book. Two I can highly recommend are The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and Widow for a Year by John Irving. I love most things by Irving, his books are like making new friends and going on an adventure with them. Also love most things by Ben Elton. I am a convert to e-readers, mainly because I read on the train and am quite lazy, an e-reader is not so heavy to carry! Will definitely be trying a few on your list.

    • Ooh, thanks Deb. I trust your judgement when it comes to books. I know we both laugh at the same bad writing, so assuming we both like the same good writing! I’m just bitter about e-readers because I don’t have one. One day…

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