What did you think was the nicest thing about being in your late twenties? I’ll tell you mine: no longer having to pretend that I liked being out late on a Friday night. I never enjoyed it, and felt like everyone else did, thus making me a loser all the way through high school and university.
Here is the Friday night of my dreams: I’ve finished work, have shut the door on two sleeping boys (I’m still ludicrously charmed by the fact that they sleep in the same room now), and have a well of quiet in which to drink this hot chocolate and make a start on a fat book. I have a blanket and a footstool. My socks are thicker than my feet. Tim is not here this evening, alas, so it’s not perfect. But everything else is pretty damn good.
If you’re reading this from under a blanket rather than while jumping in a dark, loud room, you may just be the sort of person who enjoys a stack of new books. Want to see? Here’s what I got from the library today, and why:
First, The Search for Richard III: The King’s Grave. Last year I decided to try to broaden my historical fascinations beyond the Reformation, so reached all the way back to…the Plantagenets, one dynasty earlier. I know – at this rate, I’ll only just have reached the Stone Age by the time I’m in my fifties. I have a soft spot for poor, maligned Richard, mythical hunchback and all, so was delighted when it was announced he’d been uncovered in a car park last February. This book alternates the story of his life, by a historian, and the story of his discovery, by the woman who instigated the search. And I CANNOT WAIT.
Then hurrah, the fantasy section yielded Broken Homes, by Ben Aaronovitch – another in the Peter Grant series that started with Rivers of London. I enjoyed the first one the most – where a down-to-earth London copper got himself accidentally inducted into the wizarding branch of the Metropolitan Police – but Moon Over Soho and Whispers Underground were both excellent too. Aaronovitch writes about London so well that your bogies turn black when you read it.
Then Zadie Smith’s newest offering, NW. I so want to love Zadie Smith, but have given up on both her previous novels about halfway through. Her writing – vivid and bloody – hooks me in, and then the plot and/or prickly characters spit me back out. Third one’s the charm, right?
The last is actually mine, rather than the library’s – and I’m delighted about it: Life After Life just won the Costa prize, but I’ve also had several people recommend it to me. And I had a £10 gift voucher for Waterstones, so those seemed like two things just made to make me happy. I’m only 30 pages in, but it’s about a girl who gets the chance to be born over and over again to alter her destiny and that of the world at large. Och, I tell you what: it’s good. I’m reading it with my breath held.
Now Tim is home with the ingredients for Oreo milkshake, so Friday night just got catapulted into FABULOUS.
Here’s to staying in.