My good friend and blogging buddy Pondside recently asked, apropos my post ‘Bored’…. if we had access to any good libraries here at Valley’s End, what with us being snow- and flood-bound far from civilisation and me being reduced to watching and writing about garden birds, for heaven’s sake. Pondside meant well and I am not in the least offended, my dear! Not only did she offer to send the Canadian Navy to dig us out of our icy misery but, I am sure, she would have charged them with delivering a large book bag, had there been any need.
Well, I have to admit that there are, in my study, at any time, about thirty unread books lying around, gathering dust. That’s not counting Beloved’s separate pile elsewhere in the house.
Most of these books are second-hand and come from various charitable book sales, absolute treasure chambers for rummaging and browsing. My current pile includes fiction and non-fiction, history, novels current and long out of print, thrillers ditto, biographies and poetry. There’s even some chick-lit – or maybe mid-life lit, hidden out of sight.
I’ve just finished reading a collection of H.E. Bates’ short stories, long out of date, which I found very enjoyable and nicely soporific late at night. Less soporific, bitingly funny, stylish and wise, is the book I am reading at the moment, Joyce Carol Oates ‘Middle Age’ about an affluent community in present-day America.
Both books came second-hand and therefore neither is in pristine condition nor ranks among the current crop of three-for-two blockbusters on the bookshelves of the large stores. No matter.
As I usually have about three books on the go at any time - not all of them are read right through - buying books at a fraction of their original cost is a good idea. You can always return them to the charity shops or charitable bookstalls for others to discover. All you have lost is a bit of your reading time, and a few pounds; on the plus side, you have helped a charitable organization to stay afloat for a little while longer.