Our Bee’s Bookshare World Book Night party on 23 April was a tip top evening. We had the most people ever at our bookshare (28!), with lots of new people. Not only did the super talented artist Nick Morley give a fascinating talk about his linocut book illustrations, we had a book quiz (well done team Page Turners on your excellent booky knowledge and who won a stash of books), shared lots of books and all received our World Book Night book The Road Home by Rose Tremain to read then share with others, as well as special celebratory bookmarks designed by Zoe Murphy.
The annual World Book Night celebration encourages readers to inspire others to read regularly. Which is exactly what we’re planning to do. We have 20 copies to pass on so keep your eyes peeled for places where we’ll be leaving ours – bus stops, community centres, parks, hospitals… everywhere and anywhere.
The Road Home is a moving novel about the immigrant journey from Eastern Europe to London and what it is that home really means. Lev is seeking work in Britain. Behind him loom the figures of his dead wife and beloved young daughter and his outrageous friend Rudi. For Lev, Britain is strange, but London holds an allure and a promise that he can make money to send home and improve his family’s lot.
The book delves into some uncomfortable truths about human behaviour and attitudes as well as human survival, dreams and belonging. I wasn’t expecting to like the book, which we chose because the subject matter connected to Thanet, which has its own strong immigrant community, I was worried that it would be full of clichés and wouldn’t be very objective.
But I was gripped from the start. Lev isn’t always a nice character and he doesn’t always act nicely, but he’s intriguing and puzzling, which left me yearning to discover how he fared in a strange new country.
This is a sensitive story about identity, our modern world, and the meaning of home. It’s hard hitting without being unreadable and enjoyable without being too heavy (although I’m still pondering on it, days after finishing it – a sign of a good book). Tremain’s writing has a subtle way of drawing you in and grabbing hold of you, without you really noticing it.
I’m planning to share my copy with Pilgrim’s Hospice. I’m going to offer to read to some of the elder folk at the QEQM hospital, who may not be able to still read to themselves, and thought this could be a good way to share the book but also re-engage them with reading, without too much effort on their part. I’ll let you know how I get on.
We also had other other World Book Night givers share their books with us – Ray’s A Little History of the World, and a Fort’s customer who brought Red Dust Road all the way from Dorset for us!
You can find copies of The Road Home in your local library, or if you would like to read one of our World Book Night copies, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next Fort’s Book Share is on Thursday 30 May 7.30pm
Author Rose Tremain on World Book Night
“Lev, the protagonist of THE ROAD HOME, (my novel chosen to join the list of World Book Night titles), has read very few books in his arduous life as a sawmill worker in eastern Europe. When he comes to England, he’s given a copy of Hamlet by his friend Lydia, whose pedagogical instincts dictate that she work to ‘improve’ his mind. Hamlet is of course way too difficult for a man who has difficulty distinguishing ‘to be or not to be’ from ‘B & B’, but he struggles on with it and eventually finds some affinity with the anguished prince of Denmark. The reading plays a part in opening up and transforming Lev’s life. And this we know from voices around the world: books can transform lives. So let’s hope World Book Night will act as a kind of benign Ponzi scheme for the mighty word.”