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Finding the right read

Current to-read stack - one of them.

Reading is right up there as a favourite pastime. Despite the doomsayers, bookshops and libraries are flourishing. Often I buy books but these days, not wanting to add the general chaos in my house – not to mention the groaning bookshelves – I borrow.

I was peevish at the library today. Book after booked was yanked out, glanced at, rejected. Brain and body were feverish with exhaustion, on a roll of action that wouldn’t let them slow down. It would take exactly the right reading matter to induce relaxation, and hopefully later, sleep.

Cover looks interesting, oh no, a studious young man wrote it. Perhaps an old favourite…wait, what’s this. Promising title, look at the blurb. Forceful, analytical writing…not today, thank you. Today I want soothing and unscientific. I want mundane made mesmerizing. I want people I recognise in interesting situations, with money and looks to burn.

Here’s a possible – ‘…a lyrical romp in Provence. A surprisingly compelling first novel…’ Sorry, you’re not practising on me. I want easy expertise; I want to be confidently lulled into a story with interesting characters. I don’t want worthy or challenging, not today. There are days for that, usually when on holiday and sufficiently rested to stretch the mind.

I left the library and went home empty handed. There was plenty of choice in my to-read stacks but none of them were exactly right for the difficult mood I was in.

It has to be an old favourite today as nothing else appeals. A lengthy perusal of the bookshelves came up with a winner. I’ll go with Barbara Pym. I’d usually prefer to read her than any other writer. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll move on to a soothing murder mystery. Cosily set in a grand country house complete with butler. Some snow would be nice too, it always helps to cover the footprints.

Does anyone else ever have this sort of dilemma? I'd love to know what you are reading, and what your favourite books are.

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