A Book of Wonder

I’m typing this one handed so I’m going to keep it short. RSI has forced me to prune my writing time to a minimum, but the glorious upside of this situation is that it has allowed me to maximise my reading time. So I’ve been wallowing in both ebooks and paper books, some good, some not so good. Maybe it’s a numbers thing, ten average books for one outstanding book or something like that, because a few days ago I was rewarded with a book that had me swooning after reading the first few pages.

The Age of Wonder; How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science by Richard Holmes. The poems of Coleridge, Keats and Captain Cook’s unsurpassed charting of the islands of Tahiti, Mary Shelley, the soul and dissection, sex, tattoos and Joseph Banks. Literature, metaphysics, scientific rivalries, love and crises of the soul, what an age to have been alive!

The first chapter and prologue alone had me stepping out into the world each morning with a renewed sense of awe at the simple fact of being alive and in this world. I love books that affect me this way. I suspect it’s not hard to work that out given what I’ve written. The power of these stories, re-presented by Holmes with such freshness and originality, give me a badly needed shot of optimism to fight the bleak fears of the pessimistic prognosticators who predict that we are all doomed to a future full of Twitter novels, that long form narrative is dead and that we’ll devolve into a species of bone heads with attention spans no longer than a TV commercial.

I love my ereader, but I came across this gem while browsing in a bricks and mortar bookshop – for me that’s the cherry on top of this delicious reading experience.

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3 thoughts on “A Book of Wonder

  1. Helene

    It sounds like a fascinating book, Phillipa, and good to hear you’re reassured the novel is not dead!!

    Sorry to hear RSI has caught you… That’s not a kind thing to happen to a talented writer… You need speech software to turn your words to letters on the page!

  2. Phillipa Post author

    What a garbled mess that would be! Full of sentences trailing off into nothing, copious expletives, umms and ahhs, and absent minded humming. As with most of us, I’m afraid I need to see it on the page to make it work.

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