I was intrigued when I read that James Naughtie had written a book. I was very tempted to buy it straight away when I saw it cheap on my Kindle. But then I realised that James Naughtie as a Director of the Borders Book Festival was highly likely to be speaking at the festival. And although the Kindle has its place you can’t sign a kindle. So I waited.
As I’d guessed James Naughtie was one of the speakers at the festival. Ticket bought I decided to buy the book at the festival. The Borders Book Festival is one of my favourite weekends of the year. The line up for 2014 was really impressive. Although I enjoyed the non fiction events. It’s the fiction events that give me insight how to write creatively. So I really enjoyed the Kirsty Wark event. Having already read her book. But I think I enjoyed James Naughtie’ s event just as much with his raw honesty about the writing process. Both he and Kirsty inspired me that you are never too old to write and you just need to do it and see where it takes you. A journey I am on the very early stages of.
So to his book. It’s set in 1970’s Britain. The main character is a minister in Government and in the course of a couple of days his current and past life collide. At the talk at the festival James says he first wrote the book in the present but his wife the wonderful children’s writer Eleanor Updale suggested it would be better in the 1970’s. So texting and tablets had to go replaced by pay phones and the ability to escape and not be found when you wanted some peace.
It’s a fast paced book apart from the scenes which are set in the ancestral home in Highland Perthshire. James captures both the beauty of this but also the spiritual aspect of it too that I could relate too.
I enjoyed this book and look forward to the next. Would I have enjoyed it without hearing his talk? Yes but admit it was greatly enhanced for hearing the author speak. And that’s why I love reading in this century via Twitter and the abundance of book festivals across the UK we can listen and meet authors. And most importantly learn from them.