Aug. 6th, 2007

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The Child That Books Built by Francis Spufford has been on my shelf for a long time - a relic from the list of books recommended on Neil Gaiman's blog, which I was put off by not enjoying several of them.

However, this one is excellent.  I immediately thought of [info]lareinemisere and [profile] quintus_marcius when considering recommendations, but anyone who lost themselves in books as a child would find this well worth reading.

The book tells of one boy's journey through literature from the age of six through to eighteen, digressing at various points to discuss the history of child psychology, little bits of philosophy and a sprinkling of critical theories.  The part that spoke most to me was when he started talking about how books made him yearn for something nebulous and ill-defined that could only be found in the pages of fiction, not in the real world.  What he described was exactly the feeling I get when I want to write something - a desperate desire to immerse myself in another reality and have words enfold me in their embrace.

It's a very personal book, and yet I know an awful lot of people who would very much relate to it.  The author not only has an incredible insight into the power of the written word, but also a beautiful turn of phrase, which makes the book a pleasure as well as an intellectual stimulant.

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