I love books. I love talking about them. I love being surrounded by them. I get more and more whenever I take the girls to the library. They love them, too.
But reading seems hard. I have a pile of books by my bed, and I want to devour them all.
There is always an excuse. So many things to do. Distractions to indulge. It seems such a waste of precious time to sit in the company of the printed word. Lazy, even.
I could be writing fresh words of my own, or listening to a story while I get chores done.
But, dear Reader, this situation cannot stand.
Last Friday night I fought distraction and read a book. It was short, but I read it in one evening. It was so enjoyable. A French novel set in the Russian Civil War. Four Soldiers by Hubert Mingarelli. Simple and perfect. Pretty and compelling. The final paragraphs were so astounding I read them again and again. Something I have never done.
I was so thrilled that the next morning I picked up a New Zealand novel and read the first few lines. I didn’t put it down until I was 57 pages in. And that was because I had to go to work.
The Ice Shelf by Anne Kennedy is hilarious and gripping. A comedy that will not let you look away. It has a dark, comic book cover that suits the wicked insights within.
My wife is reading the same book. Not the same copy, mind. That would be a bit tricky. Last night we abandoned the dubious pleasures of Love Island and sat side by side, snorting and laughing. Luckily, I am a many pages behind her so I am free to read-out quotes and relive favoured scenes without spoiler-ing anything.
But I want to consume this infectious narrative before my Beloved.
It’s not a competition. No. My copy is due back at the library and I cannot renew it. Some other lucky eyes are seeking this treat and have placed a reserve.
So back I go, to read. To spend more time with the mad writer as she wrestles a broken old fridge up and down the twisted paths of thwarted ambition.