My motivations for the books I pick are many and varied. Sometimes I’m just intrigued by a new book I’ve heard about. Sometimes it’s because I ran across the author at a reading. Or maybe it’s a whacky publishing house whose story has hooked me. This month however, my pick is just one of those guilty pleasures. A book I picked up at Ben McNally Books because a) it has a silly title, b) I quite liked the cover design, c) I’d seen it around on displays in virtually every bookstore in the city, d) it is set in England, and e) when I read the blurb on the back it seemed to have a lot in common with my own novel. A LOT. It’s When God Was A Rabbit by Sarah Winman (published by Headline, an imprint of Hachette UK).
I’m not going to pretend that it is the most accomplished literary read you’ll pick up this year. On the other hand it’s not gauche or heavy handed either. The writing is good enough that you won’t throw it away in disgust but not so good you’ll find yourself reading it out aloud to your husband/wife, or reading passages over again just to savour them. However, like all guilty pleasures, it gets under your skin, and before you know it you’re in Elly’s world, feeling her fears and rejoicing in her small pleasures. Before you know it you’re finished, and wishing you weren’t. I think that’s just about the best thing I can say about any book.