christmas surprise

My entire life, I’ve offered the same response whenever anyone has asked me what I’d like for Christmas: books. Big books, little books, good books, trashy books. Just books. However every year I’m met with a sack full of Christmas present disappointment. Maybe it’s under the socks? No, that’s a nail file. It could be hiding under that low fat cooking magazine? No, that’s just a book shaped body wash.

This year, I must have done something right because Santa heard me… well it was actually my mother in law but hey, Santa / mum – not much difference right? Those of you who follow me on Facebook will know that I was ecstatic to find on Christmas morning that I had received both the DVD and the book of The Bridges of Madison County. I must confess, ordinarily it would never be a book that I’d pick up to read / buy for myself but because it was a gift (and my MIL had raved about the film) I figured I’d give it a go.

I’m glad I did. Venturing out of my literary comfort zone is not something that I do all that often but on those odd occasions that I have done it, I’ve always been pleasantly surprised (note to self, do more often). And Bridges was no exception. Initially it did take me a good few pages to get used to the romantic style and sweeping prose but once I acclimatised, I could not put the damn thing down (which suited me perfectly given the post Christmas madness foetal position I had assumed on the couch).

So what’s the book about? Well it’s a love story – derr – complete with passion fuelled love making, waterfall tears and death inspiring heart ache. Admittedly, at times it did get a tad Mills & Boons-ey on me (surprise, surprise) but, I didn’t mind. That over the top, over the rainbow, sensual floralness was warranted. And yes, I got lost in it. Honestly, I did. I was swept right away.

My husband calls me a literary snob / wanker depending on how kind he’s feeling at any one time – and maybe I am one, or both of those things. Writing is my thing though. Literature is my thing. Books are my thing and, naturally, I enjoy keeping up with the latest and best in those forms. However, as I’ve now come to realise, this can – at times – lead to me reading the same authors / the same quality of writing all the time and, without me even realising, restricting myself.

In no way am I planning on giving up Dostoevsky for Maeve Binchy any time soon, (and in no way is Waller Binchy!) but every now and then I think I will give myself the permission to read something mindless. Something that I wouldn’t usually read just so that I can detach and get swept away. Of course some authors are much, much better at their art form than others – that’s just a fact – but at the end of the day, they all have a story to tell – and who doesn’t like a good story? With books, masterpieces or otherwise, there is always a new place to escape to and a new person to get to know.

This Christmas I was pleasantly surprised. Not just because I got a book (!) but because I got a book that I usually wouldn’t buy… and I read it. Cover to cover. And loved it. With the new year approaching and all, you should give it a go too. If you read sic-fi pick up a classic. If you read classics, pick up a sci-fi. Venture out of your comfort zone and come back to share because, I’m sure, you’ll be pleasantly surprised (if you persevere – that of course is key!).

Happy venturing out of comfort zones into lands that are foreign and frightening xx




4 thoughts on “christmas surprise

  1. I am so pleased that you enjoyed the book and movie of “Bridges”, so much so that you put it on yor blog. It is definitely a book that is hard to put down and a book that you can lose yourself in. There is a follow on book to “Bridges” title is “A Thousand Country Roads” by same author and it is also well worth reading.

    • Follow up book??? That could be dangerous! Must hunt that one down too for the next time I feel I need to escape and get swept away… although my birthday is coming up… hint, hint! Aren’t I terrible? I guess they do call me SmartyKat for a reason! Love xx

  2. Oh so true, there is much to learn & discover stepping outside our comfort zone but sadly as life goes on & time feels like its shortening it’s the last thing we leave time for hence the narrow minded monster starts to get the better of us! Thanks for the reminder Kat (I get a double whammy reminder considering the current family holiday!!!!)

    • I think as long as we bear it in mind, we’re on our way. Although there is a huge place for routine in the creative process (i.e. forcing oneself to write / paint / create at the same time each day), I think it can also be the root of lots of creative (and other) problems. It’s nice to change things up every once in a while and try something new but yes, like you say, we’re all terribly busy and doing this is easier said than done! Good luck with the family holiday!

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