(*Extract photographed by 'One Day' by David Nicholls.*)
I am a bookworm. I love to read. I have a lot of books, and I have read a lot of books so far. By the time I am silver-haired and wrinkly, I will have lived vicariously through so many different people that I will believe that certain, brilliant fictional things actually happened to me. That is a promise. 'Yes, fine Grandchildren of mine, Grandma did go to Hogwarts.'
Because I'm so wormy for books, I thought it was about time I introduced this passion to my dusty, little corner of the Internet. Yes, readerfolk, we're putting up a virtual bookshelf. Hammer, hammer, bang. Ah, isn't it lovely? Welcome to Kathy B's Book Club. It's like a night club, but with silence and beds and onesies, and absolutely no tequila slammers. Three weekly on a Sunday I shall be sharing with you something 'booky' and giving away a copy of one of my favourite books so that it can bestow upon another human its awesomeness, and so that we can all get excited over it and possibly weep.
Today I thought I'd get things started by telling you about my favourite book of all time, 'One Day', by the wonderful David Nicholls.
'One Day' tells the story of Emma Morley and Dexter Mayhew, who meet at university on Friday 15th July, 1988. Each chapter then revisits the same date for the next twenty years, vividly unravelling the course of their lives and more importantly, the course of their friendship and its will-they-won't-they potential to develop into something far greater.
I love many things about this book, but the thing I love the most about it is not its intricate plot or its clever structure or its innate ability to make me laugh out loud throughout. The thing I love the most about this book is the integrity of Emma and Dexter's relationship. There's Emma: an awkward, self-depreciating, 'world-changing' creative type who is desperate to write for a living, and then there's Dexter: confident, popular, and spontaneous; whose only plan is to be successful, somehow, and to sleep with more than one woman at the same time.
Together they are charming and hilarious and beautiful and fraught and painful. Their relationship is unpredictable. It's about almost, but not quite having sex with someone on the first night you meet them. It's about the sacrality of youth and its intrinsic hopefulness. It's about serving up half-stale burritos and smelling of onions whilst the one person who can make you feel better is galavanting across the world, being seduced in every hotel room. It's about going to dinner with a drug addict, wearing an orthopaedic high heel and a sorry smile. It's about loving someone so fiercely but disliking them all at once. It's about breaking rules and going skinny-dipping and laying a little too close to each other after a bottle of wine. It's about 'how we were then, and how we are now'. It's about seeing each other through life's great and awful surprises. Ultimately, it's a heart-warming and heart-breaking story about friendship, and about love, in its most raw and dynamic state.
The book is unassumingly profound in that it offers itself to us as a literary reminder of our own mortality; of the value of time, a red flag, if you will, towards the perils of just sitting and waiting for things to happen for us. Twenty years go by in just 435 pages. The book quietly shouts at us to live our lives: to love, to do what makes us happy, and to carpe that diem.
And through this poignant message about time, the book itself becomes timeless. And quite extraordinary.
I'm giving away a copy of 'One Day' to a fellow literary worm/Kathy B book clubber. If you'd like it to be yours, just follow me on Twitter (@KathyB5710) and tell me so. I'll choose a bookworm from the virtual garden next Sunday and get it posted.