A Little Book of Pleasures by William Wood
A review by R J Dent
One of the pleasures of reading William Wood’s A Little Book of Pleasures is the sheer delight one gets from reading his oil-smooth prose. It flows as gently as music and is itself an inducement to continue reading.
And then there are the anecdotes themselves. William Wood calls A Little Book of Pleasures, ‘my anthology of essays’, which is certainly an accurate description, but one that doesn’t explain that these are anecdotal essays and that whether they are object or incident-based, each one is gentle, humorous and warm – and well-told.
A Little Book of Pleasures is a collection of essays and is – in many ways, not least due to the narrative voice – reminiscent of the best work of Michel de Montaigne, whose fame rests on the Essais, a collection of a large number of short subjective treatments of various topics.
To take just a few examples, William Wood writes of the delights of ‘Log Fire(s)’, of ‘A Fountain Pen’, of ‘Cuddling Up’, and of ‘Flip-flops’. He speaks in an intimate, friendly, warm and personable manner. One is drawn in and invited to sit and experience the specific joys of each object. This effect is achieved by William Wood’s technically adept use of a second person narrator.
A Little Book of Pleasures is a highly-polished gem of a book that defies easy categorisation. Yes, it’s a collection of essays; yes, it’s a collection of anecdotes; but it’s also a collection of entertaining stories by a master story-teller, and for that reason alone it is well worth the price of admission.
From the back cover: ‘This delightful anecdotal collection, told with wry humour and a gentle, sometimes quirky style slightly reminiscent of a bygone era, contains a mixture of description and observation, with a smattering of autobiographical incident. William Wood has lived in many places of the world, is well travelled and well-written, with a keen sense of enjoyment of what he sees and experiences, and a talent for bringing that visually to the mind of his reader. The short, usually self-contained pieces make wonderful cameos both for those who do their reading in snatches, and those who will want to devour his stories in one sitting.’
Paperback: 174 pages
Publisher: Sunpenny Publishing; first edition (15 Dec 2011)
Product Dimensions: 1 x 13.1 x 20 cm
William Wood’s website:
Sunpenny Publishing Website: