I don’t really know what possessed me to buy Colm Tóibín’s Brooklyn a few years back and then leave it, unread for years. I know what possessed me to buy it – it would have been listed in one of those ‘best of the year’ round ups newspapers always do at Christmas, I tend to scan them and make a note of books that sound interesting and that I haven’t already made a note of. I think, Christmas 2009 a lot of people asked included Brooklyn in their list so I got it. Why have I not read it sooner? It’s been sitting on the books’ ‘pile of shame’ quite prominently for some time. I’d clearly made some mental assumption about it – dull, too much hardship perhaps? Whatever the assumption was, it was completely wrong. I picked Brooklyn up yesterday morning and finished it a little while ago. It was a very good read. Simple, quiet, unaffected but absolutely gripping, quite emotionally intense and powerful, just wonderfully written. The last 15-20 pages nearly had me in a complete state of panic too. I just loved it. Happy to hear that Colm Tóibín’s latest book has just been longlisted for this year’s Man Booker prize although I won’t be getting it quite yet due to recent purchases in a second hand bookshop in Yorkshire and the rest of ‘pile of shame’ still patiently waiting (but the good news is that it is being reduced). As for mental assumptions – I know they’re often wrong but in a way it’s fabulous to be just floored a little by a book you previously waived away.