Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Last night I watched the endlessly enthusiastic Jennifer Byrne and friends as they counted down the publicly voted 10 best Australian books. I've watched First Tuesday Book Club a few times lately and it always amazes and inspires me how passionate the guests and regulars are about books. I have to confess that when reading was my job I lost interest in doing it for pleasure, even if I could have found the time. But lately I've found the old urge coming back, the desire to lose myself in another place, with people I've never met but who I know I will miss, just for a little while, when I turn the final page.
So I watched last night and again I was amazed and inspired. I am compiling, as we speak, a summer reading list that includes The Harp In The South by Ruth Park (number four on the list, and they all loved it) and of course, the book that I and probably most of Australia confidently tipped as number one, Cloudstreet. I have read it before, a long time ago, and I no longer have a copy of it but as I watched last night and saw four book fanatics get all glassy-eyed as they spoke of Tim Winton's beautiful and brilliant novel, I knew I had to read it again. Starting as soon as possible.
Today I was on a mission. I visited the first of four op shops down the street, sure I would find a copy in one of them. In it I found The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay, number three on the list, and a brand new copy of William McInnes and Sarah Watt's Worse Things Happen At Sea, published only this year. And they cost me one dollar each.
Next stop: no luck, but as I kneeled before the rickety pine bookcase in op shop number three my eyes fell on the bright orange spine of a Penguin paperback, and there it was. Almost perfect. And for another dollar, it was mine. Oh Cloudstreet, I have missed you so.