Review by Paul Cheney

Publisher: Picador 17th September 2020

ISBN 978-1509891528 HB

Cathy Rentzenbrink has been a reader all of her life. As a child, she would lose herself in the stories and would read at every opportunity. This passion for books became a career too, she joined Waterstones as a bookseller and worked her way up to become a store manager before taking other opportunities in the publishing world.

Erwyn was in charge of reviewing the subs and came to find me. ‘Did you order sixteen copies of a reissue of Moon Tiger?’
‘Yes’, I squeaked. ‘It’s one of my favourite books of all time and it has an amazing new cover.’
‘Well, you’d better make sure they sell.’
Dear reader, I did.

But this is more than a memoir of a bookseller seen through the pages of all the books she has read. Rather this is her life story so far and how through tragic events like the loss of her brother and the happier moments when she married and had her son, books and reading have been there to support her at every stage.

It always helped to know that others had walked through the fire and – though not undamaged – come out the other side.

This is a lovely book in lots of ways, even though she is dealing with the grief of losing her brother in the first part of the book all of her comfort is found between the pages of books. I liked that after every chapter in her life story she selects a small number of titles and tells us why she likes that particular book and the meaning that it holds for her still. I thought that it was nice to discover not only what books but also the reasons why.