Blinded by the Northern Lights

24 Nov 2004

In general, I don’t ‘do’ books. Over the last few years, my reading has dwindled to an embarrassing one-per-year, apart from a holiday in Rhodes in which I managed to get through a grand total of three.

The type that I have managed to read, tend to be “humourous travel writing” – Round Ireland with a Fridge, McCarthy’s Bar, Are you Dave Gorman?, Join Me, that sort of thing.

I’ve just finished reading the wife’s copy of The Northern Lights by Phillip Pullman (in just 2 weeks – a personal record!), and I’m absolutely blown away. I’ve not felt so excited about fiction in a long, long time, and I’ve certainly not had that ‘can’t put this down’ feeling before (I also have this unexplainable thing about airships in stories, which was why I read Michael Moorcock’s ‘Oswald Bastable’ Trilogy -but that’s another story). That insatiable need to find somewhere quiet to read just another few pages has never been so stong.

What makes these books really ‘live’ for me is that Lyra’s story is based in Oxford (just down the road from me), at an imaginary Jordan College. The description of the city makes me feel right at home, and I can see the places Pullman describes, and suspend my disbelief that alternative universes actually exist.

Now I just hope that others share my enthusiasm, and that haven’t just made an arse of myself.

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