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I know that I have come to read the His Dark Materials trilogy really, really late, especially since the Book God has had all of the books for some considerable time (though to be fair to me, he hasn’t read them either). I’m not sure why it has taken me so long, perhaps it’s because of Harry Potter overload and not being able to face another fantasy children’s book (although there really is no comparison between the two apart from the fact that they are children’s books); or perhaps it’s because a couple of people I know had not warmed to the first novel at all, and that kind of word of mouth often gives me pause. At any rate, the trigger for finally picking up Northern Lights has of course been my desire to see the film version, The Golden Compass. Whenever I want to see a film based on a novel or short story I am compelled to read the book first, and no change this time. I have to say that, although it’s taken me a little longer to read than I expected, I was pleasantly surprised and have very much enjoyed the story of Lyra and her Daemon. So many of you have probably read this that I won’t go into any of the plot, but I found that the darkness of tone really appealed to me, and the alternative version of our world worked very well. So, not only will I be going to see the film over Christmas, but I intend to read the remainder of the trilogy early next year, and the Book God has committed to reading it as well. That’s what I call a result!
A quiet month on the book buying front as we head towards Christmas; the Book God and I have exchanged wish lists and are both under strict instructions not to buy anything between now and the day itself. So only a handful to talk about really. Anne Fadiman’s At Large and Small looks fascinating; I enjoy reading essays, (Gore Vidal’s various collections are particular favourites) and I really loved Ex Libris, so looking forward to this. Nigel Slater’s Eating for England has already been dipped into; I heard him interviewed about this on the radio and it brought back so many memories of my own childhood that there was no way I wasn’t going to get this, and I bored the Book God by reading out bits and pieces over lunch one Saturday; I have been made to promise not to do it again. Dream Angus by Alexander McCall Smith is part of the Canongate series re-telling myths; I have a couple of these but haven’t been buying the series religiously, but thought that this looked interesting.
The Georgian period isn’t one that I have been particularly attracted to in the past; regular visitors will know that the sixteenth century is more my thing, but over the past year or so I have accumulated a small quantity of books about the period, of which The Gentleman’s Daughter and High Society are the two most recent.
But my big treat this month is Posy Simmond’s new graphic novel Tamara Drewe; I have loved Posy since I was a student and used to read her weekly cartoon in the Guardian, and have have quite a few of her books including her children’s works; I love her drawing style so much (she has also done the cover for this month’s Slightly Foxed); this is definitely going to be one of my Christmas holiday reads.