Literature and Life
I must admit that, when going to visit someone, I am always a bit bothered when I do not see any bookcases in their rooms. To be sure, I seldom go into every room, especially if it is merely an acquaintance or my first time visiting but still, as someone who has bookcases in practically every room, yes even the dining room and kitchen, I sort of expect to see a book case in every room. My living room, den, previously mentioned dining room and kitchen, as well as every bedroom and guest rooms…well, we have a few bookcases overrunning with books. So when this author said she went to her bookcases to find a favored but perhaps forgotten book…. I was delighted!
I asked Lexi Rees what was her favorite book. Her answer: “That’s an impossible question. My favourite book has changed over the years from when I was aged four, “Ernest Owl”, to aged ten, “Nancy Drew” and “The Hardy Boys”, to the wildly eclectic mix I read today. It could be Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina” or Terry Pratchett’s “Mort”, depending on my mood. Of course I loved “Narnia” as a kid (it was pre Hardy Potter) and “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” still makes me laugh.
“So I scanned my bookshelves for a book that surprised me, that was still fresh in my mind even though I had read it years ago and there it is – “A School in South Uist”, about an Englishman who is persuaded to take a job as headmaster on a tiny, remote island in the Outer Hebrides in the 1890’s. It’s survived numerous charity shop culls of my overflowing bookshelves, although I don’t know why since I’ve only actually read it once.
“It’s not a best-seller, although it ranks well enough in the fairly niche Amazon categories it’s listed under. I don’t have any family connection to the author. I’m not even sure how or where I first stumbled across it as I don’t recall a friend recommending it. I assume I bought it whilst route planning a trip. I’ve travelled extensively in Scotland (and around the world) and try to read a book set in every place I visit, but I’ve never made it as far as South Uist. It’s an autobiography, but it’s one of those that could easily be mistaken for fiction – it’s got an interesting story, great characters, a fantastic setting, perfect pace and a wonderful voice.
I’ve just realized that the barren, windswept island where the elders have their gathering in my book, Eternal Seas, was probably inspired by the image this book conjured up of South Uist, even though the ruined castle I describe is Castle Gylen, near Oban. I’ve put it back on my TBR pile. It deserves a re-read!”
Lexi Rees grew up in the north of Scotland but now splits her time between London and West Sussex. She still goes back to Scotland regularly though. Usually seen clutching a mug of coffee, she spends as much time as possible sailing and horse riding, both of which she does enthusiastically but spectacularly badly. Her first book, “Eternal Seas”, was written on a boat; the storm described in it was frighteningly real.
Lexi writes action packed stories for children, and will be publishing a non-fiction book for grown-ups in 2019. She also has a blog about her family’s adventures, which seem to include lots of kids’ activities, travel, horses, boats, cars and crafting. You can connect with her at any of these links: Website https://lexirees.co.uk/; Facebook https://www.facebook.com/LexiAuthor/; Twitter https://twitter.com/lexi_rees; Google + http://bit.ly/Lexi-on-GooglePlus; Instagram https://www.instagram.com/lexi.rees/
[Please go to my Facebook page for pictures that accompany this post. https://www.facebook.com/n2myhead/?hc_location=ufi]
Writers are not perfect people although some do manage to construct perfect endings. What they do is connect the written word to the living we all do – whether it is a book for children or adults. I thank all whom I have featured this month. They make our living immeasurably better and turn an hour into an adventure when we read their efforts. What I hoped to illustrate this month is that we all have an effect on each other. After all, as one of my favorite writers and actual distant relative John Donne, once penned: “No man is an island.”