Aaaaah. Summer, my most favourite season with it’s warm breeze, chirping birds, hot sun and outdoor adventures has finally arrived.
And so, it is with a cup of Aldi’s copy of Yorkshire Tea Gold, that I lay down in my garden, under my huge (really needs cutting, it’s now almost a part of the house) tree, on my favourite check blanket and with my note book, I am again with a borrowed laptop (thanks Scott) to tell you all about my latest reading adventures.
I just want to say a quick thank you to everyone that has asked me to write my blog posts recently. It’s been a rather busy time with a lot going on, and writing had taken a back seat. So it’s been really a lot of encouragement to me to get back to penning and sharing my reviews by knowing that people love and miss them – so thank you to everyone who got in touch!!
Since I last wrote, I’ve had an amazing holiday to Cyprus, which I spent drinking copious amounts of gin, exploring caves and spending quality time with my absolute favourite person <3.
However what I love the most about holiday (vacation) time, is the freedom to read at leisure. We are not bound by everyday living, schedules and necessities. We can read as we choose, when we choose, and often at the most beautiful locations.
On my vacation I read a book in just three mornings around the pool, something that I long to do at home, however with a very busy work and fitness schedule, I’m often lucky to get in half an hour reading a day. It is with this in mind that I suggest we all try to make time to read more, including myself of course. It’s proven that just 5 minutes per day can reduce stress, refresh our mindsets and enhance our empathy and creativity in the real world. So, this summer, that is my promise to myself; to make the most of the British sunshine, my lovely garden and my lunch breaks, and to use them at every available opportunity to read. I really hope you do the same.
So what do I have to tell you about this post? Well, it’s an absolute TREASURE, I promise you. I’m so excited to share this with you!!
THE BINDING, BY BRIDGET COLLINS
It was a rainy, typical spring day in York when I pestered one of my best friends (not that she needed much persuading) to head over to Waterstones with me. Now if you’ve not been, Waterstones in York is one of my favourites. If you’re not familiar with York, it’s a medieval walled city, with a castle, very old buildings, and my favourite street The Shambles is basically Diagon Alley from the Harry Potter Films. Think cobbled streets, lopsided stone buildings, old decedent tea rooms and every shop has a creaky uneven floor. It’s fantastic.
Waterstones is no different and I feel as though this particular one has a very special charm. As we walked in, I instantly was drawn to their book recommendations (which I usually find are pretty good), and was immediately attracted to this book. Now I’m not one for hardcover books, but I was absolutely mesmerised by the book cover. It also has sprayed purple pages, and I LOVE sprayed pages. It’s an absolute showstopper for any book shelf.
The moment I opened the dust cover and read what was held inside, I jumped up and down with excitement, yelled ‘OMG THIS SOUNDS AMAZING, IM BUYING IT!!’ to my friend, and tried to contain myself to avoid running at the cashier. I began reading that night, and from that moment on, I read it at every possible opportunity.
“Imagine you could erase your grief.
Imagine you could forget your pain.
Imagine you could hide a secret.
Just stop and really imagine that for a moment. Think about those words. What would that feel like, if this was really a possibility, for everybody. Would you erase a part of your life?
The story is set in the late 19th Century and follows the story of Emmett Farmer, a young man born into a family of farmers. His life is spent with his mother and father and his sister Alta, tending to the fields and the overall maintenance of the farm. In chapter 1, Emmett’s family receive a letter.
“The Binder wants an apprentice.”
There’s just one problem; books are frowned upon in this world. For books as we know them today, are not the same kind of books in this tale. Books are personal, one of a kind individual books, genuinely rare, one offs. For books are not made up stories, they are the bound memories of people’s lives, binding them forever to the pages, sparing the individual of remembering them.
Emmett is sent (begrudgingly) by his parents to work for the Binder, an elderly lady named Seredith, who lives in an isolated little cottage. From here we learn that Binding (much like wizardry) cannot be taught. A person is Binder Born, and it is in some ways, witchcraft. Emmett himself seems to be rather immature and unworldly at this stage of the story, in the way he deals with the situation and his family. It’s difficult of course, but he is rather whiny and not very confident.
Which is an odd trait for a Binder, as The Binder is a kind of therapist. Those who are in pain or suffering from memories or events that have affected them elect to visit the Binder, for they can resolve your problems in just one sitting by erasing all trace of the memory in your mind. The only downside for that individual is that there are of course consequences; a person bound is never quite the same.
However with every business, there is a black market. It is a lucrative business and so many sell fake books. In this story, those books are known as novels; the books we know of in our world. They are made up stories, fiction, copied and reprinted en masse, sold to the nosy. Collin’s irony wasn’t lost on me, and I found this particular snippet quite amusing! But could you imagine, if what you was reading was actually someones life. Every time we opened a book and read about characters and stories, if they were actually genuine. I mean it’s basically non-fiction biographies, but the idea of reading about normal lives (not just that of a celeb) is a little more exciting.
Because of the need to ensure genuine bound books are appropriately handled and are not made available for sale, these are stored securely in vaults. Each book is handcrafted, beautiful (much like the book’s cover then enticed me in the first place).
“Books should be beautiful…it’s a way to honour people- like grave stones in olden times” – Seredith
At page 35, we are introduced to another main character in the plot, Lucian Darnay, who is visiting the cottage for his own binding. The exchange upon first meeting between Emmett the Binder’s apprentice and Lucian the new customer, is awkward and confusing at first outset. For Lucian knows exactly who Emmett is, but Emmett hasn’t seen Lucian before in his life.
“Emmett, please look at me, just for a second, please. I don’t understand-“, Lucian
They are swiftly interrupted by Seredith, and Emmett begins to feel very unwell. Emmett goes to bed to sleep. He does not wake for 5 days.
Later in the tale, we discover exactly why this strange situation unfolded, for there is one binding that Seredith doesn’t wish for Emmett to see.
Upon the discovery of this book we are thrown into Part 2 of the story, and the importance of Lucian Darnay. I ADORED Part 2. Wow. I expected the journey to continue with the Harry Potter ‘You’re a Wizard Harry’ style of story telling, but what I found amongst those pages was plot twists and story lines I would not have imagined. No clues were given away, but that brief and awkward encounter began to make a lot of sense. Emmett’s behaviour and personality seemed a little more adult, and I now understood why he seemed so child-like in Part 1.
I began with an instant dislike to Lucian Darnay, for he is privileged, game playing and self righteous, but as the story developed and his own unfolded, I began to understand why. It was but a smokescreen for what was really going on underneath. For if he revealed his true self at this point in history, then he would lose everything. There was only one person who could be trusted with knowing his true identity, and that was Seredith.
CAN’T PUT IT DOWN RATING: 4.5/5
Magical. Tantalising. Shocking. A real page turner.
I read for hours and was truly saddened when it ended. I felt that the character portrayals were wonderful, Seredith’s in particular. A wise old woman who has seen it all, and yet is still instantly nurturing and protective of Emmett. The book was exciting, had the perfect level of pace and I could picture all of the scenes. The only negative part of the writing in my opinion is that those who were depicted as horrible people all seemed to have the same character traits, and I found one scene at the end of the story didn’t quite flow and I was a bit confused as to how we’d got from A to B.
However, it’s a fascinating, magical novel that makes you think differently about books in the real world and the characters within them. Any book like that deserves a place on your shelf. I’m also now a hardback book convert- I didn’t think I’d see the day!
If you love magical books that make you think, with great character development, then please please read this.
Where to Buy:
In Store: Waterstones: £12.99 (Hardback), or £7.99 (paperback)
Online: Wordery: £8.75 (Hardback) and Free Delivery!
WASHED DOWN WITH:
Aldi Gold Label Tea. Now I’m a proper Yorkshire lass, so I’m Yorkshire Tea until I die, no Tetley’s or PG Tips for me thank you!
However 100% these taste exactly the same as Yorkshire Gold. They’re a nice strong and refreshing brew, perfect for breakfast, tea (dinner to anyone not northern or British) or cake eating. At 99p for 80 bags, you can drink as many cups as you want a day!!
TASTE RATING: 4.5/5. The trick is to let them brew properly, but not too long. You don’t want stewed Tea!
One last comment from me to my readers, before I sign out.
I love buying online like most but please, if you can support your physical book shops by buying from there then please do.
Last week I went to visit one of my favourite independent book stores in London to find it had moved. 20 minutes and a lot of cursing at google maps later, I found it and it is sadly now just a fraction of the size with barely any literature to buy and it completely has lost it’s charm. Buying online is cheaper and often easier with our busy lives, but there really is nothing better than visiting a book shop and becoming immersed in the full experience, whether it be an independent or a Waterstones. It’s also greener. If you’re already going shopping etc, then you’re not adding more emissions to the environment. Plus in bricks and mortar book stores, you often find books signed by the author including first editions, and you still only pay the RRP. You don’t get that online!!!
Please consider this before buying books for yourself or loved ones.
Until the next Chapter,