I recently signed up to the Big Green Bookshop Book Club. Once you’ve paid your subscription, they send you a very interesting questionnaire. It’s not too long but it really made me think. Essentially it helps them get to know you and your reading tastes and with that information, they then choose a book for you and pop it in the post.
I’m always up for finding new books and new authors and supporting independant shops, especially independant bookshops! So I thought I’d give it a go. I chose to start with the 3 month option and see how I found it (so far I’m loving it, except for the moment of panic when a parcel arrives and I think I’ve forgotten I ordered something!).
So far I’ve recieved two books; Lanny by Max Porter and Feeding Time by Abam Biles. I haven’t read Feeding Time yet but I’ve just finished Lanny and what a book! I don’t tend to reread books but I think I probably will with this one as there’s so much you can pick up on the second time round.
On the surface it tells the story of Lanny, a boy who lives in a village outside London, with all the odd characters you find in books about village life! And of course, those characters have lived in the village for generations, making Lanny and his family very much outsiders.
But Lanny is no ordinary boy, and this is no ordinary village. This is the village of Dead Papa Toothwort who has woken from his slumber in the woods….
And that’s all I will say about the plot and the characters, you should read it for yourself and enjoy the wandering rhythm of the story being revealed.
What I do want to say is how wonderful the language is and how poetic this book is, and how astute the observations are:
“He slides across the land at precisely the speed of dusk…. English seasons roll out of bed… we nurture things slowly and we kill things quick… I’m waxed leaves and hard flint, storing tomorrow’s sunshine in my bark, invisible…”Max Porter
How beautiful is that?! How soul nourishing and gorgeous?!
At one stage, Lanny is building a bower, like bowerbirds do, and filling it will the best stuff he’s found. And I wondered to myself, what would I put in my bower?
A bower must be decorative, with a carefully arranged display of objects; a dowry. These objects include shells, leaves, flowers, feathers, stones, bones, berries, plastic, glass or anything else the male bowerbird may find. And it’s not a rough and ready affair. The male spends hours arranging his display, truly dedicating himself to the task.
I am looking around my flat and thinking about what I am drawn to… my bower would be feather lined, adorned with seashells and pretty bits of stone. There would be gnarled twigs and fairy lights. A space for precious, well thumbed books and well loved teddy bears. Another for photos and sentimental jewellery. Lines from poems and phrases from poems yet to be written. Bubbles, the kind you got as a kid, often in a party bag, and the scent of lemongrass. Tufts of wool retrieved from branches and conkers still with their shine.
My bower would be filled with treasures from nature, memories and words.
What would you put in yours?