"The pursuit of love seemed to need the cultivation of indifference."
If I were to chose the book that impressed me most during the past 12 months, it would be "The Line of Beauty" by Alan Hollinghurst. I've mentioned this before, I think, but it's one of those books that are mysteriously important to you, like reading "Catcher in the Rye" when you're fifteen years old. Do you know what I mean? One of those books that you'd only give to people as a birthday present if you really, really liked them, as a sort of hidden compliment that nobody but you yourself could understand. (That being said, does anyone else spend ages choosing books for other people? I literally spent 45 minutes frowning at the English section several weeks ago, completely incapable of making a decision. It just seems so meaningful.)
So, "The Line of Beauty". When I first started to read it, I turned to my friend Cat who was staying at my place at the time, and said, "This is going to be brilliant, I just know it." Problem is, I just get sucked into books and can't shake them off, I wander around feeling all weird and in this case as if I was a gay young man living in London in the 1980s. Quinten visited and I just couldn't stop talking about it, it must have been pretty annoying, sorry about that! What I'm trying to say here is that it's not an altogether pleasant experience, really liking a book. Sometimes it's way too intense. Sometimes I'm glad that not all my life is revolving around literature, around fictional things because it would make me go insane. Sometimes it's a relief to read about helicopters with absolutely no feelings, no interpretation necessary.