GMBG – January – Lanny by Max Porter and Betsy Bee

Welcome to the inaugural Great Monthly Book Giveaway post, known forthwith as GMBG.  This month the lovely and lucky couple are Lanny by Max Porter and Betsy Bee.  The above photo is of my book.  Betsy’s edition has a beautiful copper leaf on the front.  It made me a little bit jealous.  I suppose I could have swapped them over in the hope she believed it had been well-thumbed in the bookshop.  Unfortunately my conscience reflex is far too strong.  Heyho, you may imagine a beautiful embossed leaf, if you wish.

I first read this book because of a recommendation.  Not of this particular book, but another by the same author.  The advice came from either Chris Packham or Simon King, I don’t remember which, but I am certain it was a wildlife presenter.  I scribbled “Max Porter” on a piece of paper but not who to blame/thank and filed it in “big pile on desk”.  Then Lanny came along and with it a twinkle of recognition.  And I was very pleased for that scribble.

Lanny is a book of Nature, both mother and human.  It is not cutesy Disney nature, but tough, vengeful, own rules nature.  At first it is delightful, gradually becoming more shadowy, hints of something I didn’t want to acknowledge.  Oh dear, I thought, I didn’t sign up for this, please don’t let it be true.  I was irritated by this particular diversion, a bit sulky, Mr Porter wasn’t playing the game how I wanted it played.  Of course, and quite rightly, he did what he wanted.  Not only are the words beautiful to say and hear and read, they are beautiful to see and they scamper or trail or lounge around the pages.  I’ll tell you no more.

I have sent this book to my friend Betsy, known to me as Betsy Bee.  She keeps bees.  She lives between sea and moor, is open-minded, receptive to new ideas and very clever.  They are well-suited.

Betsy was not my first choice. I bought the book for Div on a whim and when I tentatively investigated she had just started reading it.  At the time I didn’t tell her as I thought she might feel bad, but there would be no need.  These things often work out for the best.  Betsy is presently engulfed in tax office torture and she is longing for distraction.  I hope this proves to be a good one.

As for Div, she won’t miss out, I have something else planned for her.

Introducing The Great Monthly Book Giveaway

I have been feeling singularly uninspired.   Blame it on the time of the year, blame it on the weather, blame it on the state of the universe, blame it on the boogie.   It just is.  I am struggling to find my factory setting “annoyingly upbeat” persona.

Then a book arrived, delivered by our very own Stealth Postie, a gift from my good friend and most talented jeweller Div.   Postcards Stories written by Jan Carson, not one previously on my literary radar.   Every day in 2015 the author wrote a short story on the back of a card and posted it to a friend, and this diddy little book features the best of them.  It is finished, I have eaten every last crumb.  And I greatly enjoyed it.   It was an appropriate choice.

In a similar vein I have periodically, with my usual randomness, been posting cards to friends, delving into a reservoir amassed over the years, always attempting to match subject to subject.  A dating agency of sorts.  I decided there was no need to hoard these jewels picked up in galleries and museums, tourist information and local shops, they were better off shared.  The joy of receiving something in the post far outweighs the ping of an email.  It was a way of sending a little joy.  A drop only, but a drop is better than a bill or someone trying to sell you life insurance.  On the reverse of these cards there are no clever and concise stories lurking, just the odd rambling “I thought you might like this” “Reminds me of you” or other such dull lines.  It is my hope that the card itself makes up for my lack of poetry.

And then in a flash, or maybe a slow fizzle, it came to me. The catalyst of course was the ever-generous Div.  A new project.  Each month of this year I am going to send a book to someone and share on my blog why I have chosen the particular book and the particular person.  Not a book review, or a person review even, just why I thought they would be a good match.  Perhaps there will be feedback from the recipient, perhaps not.  Perhaps you will be inspired to seek out the book, perhaps not.  It will be called The Great Monthly Book Giveaway, a title which contains only one possibly inaccurate word.

I am once again feeling inspired.