Serial reader

I’ve said before that for my last significant birthday my daughters got me membership of the Lit and Phil library in Newcastle, the largest independent UK library outside London. It’s such a great place to go and browse or sit and read among all the amazing books they have. If you are in town it is well worth a visit.

Throughout COVID the library has been a godsend for me. Even during lockdown I was able to reserve books online and have them sent out by post. Now that everything is open again it is great to be able to go though I am still finding it a struggle to find the time. I must do better.

I’ve been getting through the books though. I’m on my one hundred and eleventh since joining. My borrowing strategy takes two forms, the first is to go in and choose a book at random, a sort of lucky dip, which so far has proved to be very rewarding. The second form is to try and read through the complete works of a particular author. I’m currently working through the canon of both Doris Lessing and Andrea Camilleri. At the moment I’m reading Lessing’s ‘Children of violence’ series and have just finished Camillleri’s ‘Angelica’s Smile’, number seventeen of twenty eight in his Montalbano series. He has written other books which I will check out later.

I’m able to reserve the book in advance but sometimes the next in the series is not available as it is out on loan. This means I have to read the books out of sequence. This is not usually a problem for the Montalbano books even though there are some threads that run through but is more of a problem for the Lessing books.

I noted that the ‘Angelica’s Smile’ had been borrowed only a few weeks before and was unavailable when I wanted it. I am now left wondering if there is another reader out there also reading through the series who curses me, unknowingly of course, every time they cannot get the next in line. It might be interesting to catch up to share our thoughts and perhaps I should put a note in one of the future titles inviting them to get in touch. Perhaps not, that would be just too weird. My imagination is running away with me just like one of the plots.

It could be that I am reading too much.

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