For my fortieth birthday, one of the gifts I received was a set of books. The card it came with said – these are two of my favourites and I hope they bring you as much joy as they did to me.

The first one I read over the December holidays and absolutely loved it – it was ‘All the light we cannot see’ by Anthony Doerr, which was the best novel I’ve read in a very, very long time. I recommended it to my sister, who thought the same – neither one of us could put it down.

The second, called Barkskins by Annie Proulx, only made it onto my bedside table a couple of days ago – for no reason other than just that there ain’t much time for reading unfortunately.

And again, I am hooked – I can’t wait for bedtime to get my few page fix. In fact, I find an hour of reading so much more fulfilling than an hour of watching tele. It’s like you’ve been completely transported and absorbed into another world altogether.

The next time I’m not sure what to get someone, I will do exactly the same – go to the bookstore and share some of the books that have brought me the most joy. A very generous gift indeed.

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