It was with a bevy of tears and that indescribable sadness that comes with parting from a beloved fictional character that I finished the final pages of We are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler. This book was incredible, magnificently written, witty, heart wrenching and absolutely unique.
I was captivated by this novel before I had even lifted it from the shelf. Its bold blue cover, contrast with yellow, black and white jumped out at me from the shelf. The title, The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett, evoked an idea within me- a thought that the novel would follow a tangent which I have thought about many times myself: If one thing was different, one incident or moment in my life, no matter how inconsequential it may be, how would that change the course of everything else to follow?
I’ve never really been one for the romance genre. It’s not to say I don’t like romance novels, it’s more that I’d never really found one that filled me with an urge to read more. Granted, until last year I had only ever read four romance novels, three of them being the Fifty Shades series, the other was a novel by Rachel Gibson, a book so bland I can remember neither the title nor the story.
“Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.” Jean Louise (Scout) Finch- To Kill a Mockingbird
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, is undoubtedly the best book I’ve ever read, and my favourite novel. In the weeks before returning to Macquarie University for the last year of my English and Writing degree, I pulled the book off the shelf and started to read it again. I think I’ve read this book at least once every year since I was assigned it in school in 2008. Every time I read it, I find something different, something I may not have understood when I was younger, an issue I have more perspective on now, or something I just plain missed. Therein lies one of the greatest joys of re-reading this novel, its ability to consistently interest an excite me.
“What some people find in religion a writer may find in his craft… a kind of breaking through to glory’ – Steinbeck, 1965
I’m an English and Writing student at Macquarie University, so as you can probably guess, I don’t have a lot of time for reading for pleasure. This means that when I eventually do pick up something to read for my own enjoyment, it had better be good.