Reading has saved my life, again and again, and has held my hand through every difficult time …

I pick up and smell them before I even buy books. At home I have a separate shelf for ‘books about books’. And unless the smell of the books merge with the smell of me, my home and my beloved ones I don’t really own them.

first published 2020 by Picador

Picked up “Dear Reader. The Comfort and Joy of Books”, by Cathy Rentzenbrink and didn’t “smell” the book in the first two chapters. But then Rentzenbrink had me in her book spell.

The author started as a bookseller but now lives of her writing, her book critics and the writing classes she gives to prisoners amongst others. This book is a mix of a memoir (her personal story), lists with recommendations on books to read, a summary of some of these books and all very well structured around key events in her life. The love of her parents, the death of her brother, her first job as book seller, her husband and son, ….

Every book holds a memory. When you hold a book in your hand, you access not only the contents of that book but the fragments of the previous selves that you were when you read it.

Memoirs is one of the genres I like most. A world of fiction melts with the real world.