Wednesday, 17 July 2013

The List of Amazing

There is a TYPE of book that exists, but is by no means common or easy to find or even describe, that just gives me joy and delight.

I am a total fusspot, and a sensitive one. I don't want to read about murderers or too much dark and dreariness. When I read for pleasure, I want it to be just that. The world is full of shocking headlines and dark deeds, that are REAL. I have never been able to understand the appetite people have for reading about more of it, that somebody, somewhere has sat down, and MADE UP.

So, although I read an array of varying books, for varying age groups, these books here are written just for me and my smile. They cause me to celebrate and whoop, and they bless my heart.

It is very hard to describe what shape these books take, or how I know when I've found one, as there is no labelled genre, exactly. But I will give a few examples, and if you have read any of them, you will understand the brilliant gold that they are. And if you haven't, perhaps you will consider trying one.

The one which I have just, this moment finished and is still warming the inner recesses of said heart, is named The Girl Savage. And it was crafted by a lady called Katherine Rundell. It follows the happenings of a girl named Will (Wilhelmina Silver) who has only ever known the joy and freedom of her wild, precious Africa. Her life is one of tumbles from trees and horses, racing through long grass and red dust, which gets into everything, including her hair, which is a trailing mass of knots. Will is wild but true, and good, and full of courage and love. But when she is uprooted and sent to a boarding school in London, the world she knows is torn and lost. How can courage help her now, when everything she does brandishes her with the name "Filthy Savage?"

Katherine Rundell's words form into the most glorious sentences that leave you wondering why you've never expressed something in that way before. Her experience of Africa shines through in all of Will's fierce love of it, and in all her descriptions and speech.

I am so glad to have discovered this book, which occurred because I had bought Katherine's second book, Rooftoppers, a novel all of its own. The story begins with a baby girl found in a floating cello case after a shipwreck. Each is its own complete and unique adventure, but with the same delicious flavour and exquisite writing. Both follow a young girl who is threatened with everything they hold most dear, and how they deal with the challenges, and people, they face. Both are utterly wonderful and perfect.
"Binny for Short" by Hilary Mckay is another book that I fully love; a treasure of a read, just full of quirk and character and family love, with a blast of sea air and homeliness, mystery and hope  about it that kept me galloping through whilst also wanting to savour every sweet sentence. I will need to read it again more slowly soon, which is why I had to buy my own copy, now, while it's in hardback because it is very beautiful too.

"Dear Scarlett," by Fleur Hitchcock has definitely earned its place on my list of excellence. And this is not a long list. I am a fusspot, after all, and I'm not looking for any old thing. I want real beauty, the deep, heartfelt kind. I want love and quirks, fun and thrills. I want intrigue and I want brilliant characterisation. And I want gorgeous, better-than-a-picture sentences that make me melt. And they are not found in most places. They are found in a few books, here and there, which I discover every now and then, by some magic route or another. And then I say, "YES!" And, "Thank you, very much."

There are lots and lots of other books which I really really like and some that I love, books that I find fun, or interesting, books that I'd happily recommend and review most earnestly and full of praise. But not many who fall into THIS category of wondrous, precious, brilliance. So don't sneeze at this list. It's quality, not quantity. And I hope it will grow. 

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