Why did I love this book?
People will tell you Byron produced his best works in later life (not that late, though because he died at the age of 36), his literary prowess capping at Don Juan. That could be true, but there is something beautifully human about Hours of Idleness. It includes my absolute favourite poem, "Lachin y Gair". It’s the poem that rekindled my love of Byron’s poetry after several years of absence, drenched in the poet’s desperation to belong in that history. That same connection with the cultural past is what turned me to writing historical fiction.
But the book is more than just one poem. It’s a youth’s progression into a man, and (as you might expect from Byron) features all the sordidness and bitterness of the emergence of an adult soul.