Every reader, serious or casual, is constantly on the lookout for their next great book.
The one that connects with them in what feels like an intensely personal way. That, or just excites them, makes them laugh or terrifies them, in such a way that they count the moments until the book can be picked up once more.
I consider all this as I’ve been reading a string of what are, to me, three star, simply average books.
There have been enjoyable but unexceptional chick-lits which served a purpose and gave me something to read at the end of a long day, but without any real emotional investment. Plus (what were to me) overrated thrillers and self-help/memoirs; I’m pleased so many people get a lot out of them, but everyone’s reading experience is different after all.
Now, though, I’ve suddenly been filled with absolute joy and delight by The Penguin Lessons by Tom Michell.
Every scene paints an amusing or heartwarming picture of one man and his anthropomorphised penguin. The fact it’s a true story makes my heart sing even more.
This is how I want to feel more often. In essence, desperate to get back to the penguin.
I’ve experienced the same thing with audio books – they’re great for my commute, but I almost choose them less discriminatingly because they require less concentration than reading with your eyes, so it doesn’t matter if you’re a bit less invested.
However Spectacles written and read by Sue Perkins made me laugh aloud so many times in public, and I even shed a little tear on a Tube platform.
I’m going to choose my next few books wisely.
Sure, not every read can be in your top 10, or even close. But to stay enthused about reading there must be some sort of visceral connection or emotional investment there to make the experience really mean something. I’ll be on the look out for my next The Penguin Lessons.