It may be Tuesday, and I may be out there having a great time earning a crust off the beleagured NHS but that's no reason to miss out on a lit-like blogpost.
I always think carefully about the book I choose to launch each year of reading and this year it came into my hands by chance. I had already decided that I would have to read The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion the minute it was published here in the UK and it was uppermost in my mind, so I had a gasp aloud moment whilst browsing through our newly opened Oxfam bookshop here in deepest Devon last December; there was a brand new unread Knopf US hardback edition with those letters J-O-H-N subtly highlighted in blue through the cover title.
It was mine for £2.49, how on earth did it get here? It felt oddly as if it had been sent,
I had wanted my reading to give me a year of magical thinking, though preferably not in Joan Didion's heartbreaking circumstances, but this tribute to her marriage and life with her husband John and his death proved to be one of the most strangely uplifting books I had read in a long time.
Joan survived.Despite it all she survived and wrote it down and this is the book to read if you need to know how.Searingly honest and at times agonising especially as her face, etched with grief, softly fixes your gaze so purposefully each time you pick the book up, Yet in many ways this is a comforting book especially I think for anyone who may be going through it; just to know you can get to the other end of that first year, somehow.
I'm having a different sort of year of magical thinking and god forbid I ever find myself having to have the one that Joan had (I had very similar when I was 21, though not the same, and as a lapsed bereavement counsellor I've listened to plenty more like it) but hers is the one book I think I would be able to read.
In fact I think I'd cling onto it like a lifeline.