Welcome to the Reading Room

Welcome to the newly opened Reading Room on Planet Nation! Here we will gather every month and talk books. I love books, I love the smell of them, the feel of them and I love seeing them lined up nicely or just piled up on people’s shelves. Doesn’t matter if it’s matching leather bound editions of the classics or dog eared well thumbed thrillers. As long as folks love books they’re welcome here.

There will be an emphasis on lesfic, on books by women and on books about women. But I also read philosophy, psychology, politics, general fiction and therefore the discussion will not be exclusively female or exclusively lesbian. The views expressed are my own. My affair with lesfic goes waaay back. I remember buying mail order from West and Wilde in Edinburgh and loving that they came in “unmarked” packages. I was still living at my parents and I wasn’t out to them, though I was studying at University and working weekends. I met Stoner MacTavish and Emma Victor and Lindsay Gordon and Kate Delafield and Carol Ashton. I discovered authors like Camarin Grae and Katherine J Forrest. I wanted to throw myself at the feet of Naiad Publishers and thank them from the bottom of my West of Scotland “only gay in the village” heart. I had found my tribe.

I read about 40 to 50 lesfic books a year now and about the same in non fiction and other general fiction. I read mainly on Kindle although I still need my physical book fix. Luckily I have some good charity book shops around to help with that, as I don’t have the money I did now I’m retired. Lesfic books to me are defined as those published via an LGBT publisher (like Bold Stroke Books, Dirt Road Books or Ylva Publishing) or independently by lesbian writers or consortiums - we should support them where possible over the great God Amazon. I’m looking forward to discovering more publishers, independents or groups as we develop.

This column will talk about anything and everything connected to books. Awards, gossip, new releases, debut writers etc but also about interesting things I learn about books or in books. This could be anything! Watch this space. Classics always call to me – Dickens, Woolf… Reading books written years ago fascinates me. My TBR (to be read) pile contains Eliot, Joyce and Proust. I have started all of them at some stage and my Kindle shows I’m 2% into my current try at Proust. I love the writing and the slow pace but I have to break off every so often for a crime story or Ruby Wax talking neuroscience. Butterfly mind.

Think of this as a virtual book club, as a bunch of friends sat in a café talking about books – not about "a" book (I can’t read to order) – but about the wonderful world of books. Eclectic, eccentric, diverse, inclusive, outward looking but cosy.

Welcome to the Reading Room.