As anyone who has ever tried to buy me a book will tell you: I am a bit of a nightmare to choose for.
You see, I don’t like books that are too weird, involve too much fantasy, or are too long. I like complicated plot lines, but I don’t like impossibly complicated plot lines that make me feel confused and stupid and angry with the author (yes, I am talking about you Will Self). I quite like to learn a lesson, but only if I think it is a good lesson. And no, I can’t really define what ‘good’ means. I like to read books that have won things, but before too many people have told me how wonderful they are, because otherwise inevitably my hopes will be up and then I will be disappointed. I like a bit of romance, as long as it’s not too trite, or it can be trite, if I am in the right mood. But I can’t predict the mood I will be in, nor can I guarantee that it will stay that way for the entire course of a novel. I like history, but only if it is accurate, and ideally references something I already know a little about. But not too much or that would be boring. I like funny books. But I don’t find most books funny. So it’s probably best not to try. My favourite book last year was about gardens in Malaysia. And I am not interested in gardens, and don’t know anything about Malaysia. And it was pretty long.
Basically, as many of the men reading this will have ascertained by now. I am a woman.
This is a very long and meandering intro to tell you that I feel for my friends. I really do. Because however much I am trying to bite my tongue before reading their suggested books (please note, no such promises after) they know I am judging their choices. I know they know, because a lot of them have already told me. And they know me well enough that there is no point in me denying it. So instead, I am going to do what the extremely highbrow novel ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ taught me: “acknowledge it and move on…”