Whether surprisingly or not, my younger brother and I have similar tastes: we both have a sweet tooth, like travelling, hunting and watching Top Gear, listening to Tom Petty (although that’s where our musical similarities end) and we have been known to take to the road on two wheel bikes, training for various levels of endurance races. There’s a difference of two years and about six inches between us, but despite the advantage he has over me in height, he will always remain my little brother.
When it comes to literary tastes – we don’t necessarily read the same books. I’ve yet to see him pick up a Jackie Collins or a Marian Keyes, and I in turn haven’t quite managed to make my way through Nelson Mandela’s extensive biography or Bill Bryson’s Down Under (although chances of me reading these before little bro reads Marian Keyes is probably much higher!). Yet, without fail, a birthday or Christmas present in the mail is in the shape of a book – and to be on the safe side, it’s usually a Lonely Planet Guidebook.
But for my 28th birthday – as I was jetsetting off to celebrate it in the 28th country I had visited (that was a challenge in itself!) – stowed away in my hand luggage was little bro’s birthday present to me: Tuesdays with Morrie, by Mitch Albom.
“It’s pretty good,” was all he had said of this book, and yes I had heard much about it, but never knowingly understood what it was all about. I can only say that for once I was incredibly grateful for an uncivilised, early morning Easyjet flight from Gatwick where it was guaranteed that every other passenger would be fast asleep – because while reading Tuesdays with Morrie I was crying my eyes out. The tears couldn’t seem to fall fast enough down my cheeks as I turned page after page as we flew across the English Channel and over Europe, enroute to Copenhagen.
As such, Tuesdays with Morrie, in which Albom shares life’s lessons he has learned from his dying professor, is now firmly cemented on my most favourite of bookshelves and there it will stay until I have the strength and the supply of tissues I need to pick it up again.