Sometimes a year of reading leaves me uninspired, book after book with stories that do no more than pass a little time and are quickly forgotten. But 2021 was a good year for me, three of the books that I read were outstanding, Mary Oliver's beautiful book of poetry is a joy, I have it by my bedside to dip into. Her thoughts so often echo mine. Here is the start of HOW I GO TO THE WOODS
Ordinarily I go to the woods alone, with not a single friend, for they are all smilers and talkers and therefore unsuitable.
The ending is
If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must love you very much.
In May I wrote about my response to Hamnet, the imagined story of Shakespeare's wife and the death of his son. This book reduced me to tears. I think it is a work of great beauty, threading together the few known facts with elements from the various plays. It is a work of great imagination.
My third book, 'The Summer Isles' is subtitled a voyage of the imagination. It is the record of a journey made in a sailing boat up the west coasts of Ireland and Scotland to visit, really to make a pilgrimage, to the Summer Isles.
How do I start to describe this book? Magical - you have to read it! When the author was sailing I anxiously watched out for the weather. In harbour I relaxed and heard all the island tales. I kept saying, oh, how my mother ( a romantic Scot who holidayed on the islands as a child) would have loved this book!