At the library


I was gutted when I got to the borrowing station in Queenstown Library today, to find I could only borrow 8 books. This was because I’d amassed a pile of 13 books, a heady combination of Elephant & Piggie, Here Comes ______ Cat, and copious dinosaur, wild animal and nap-related volumes for La Serpiente. We’d grown accustomed over the past few months to borrowing 20 books at a time; a couple for us, and half a shelf for La Serpiente. Now the 50th anniversary celebrations are over and done with, everyone’s quota has been slashed.

I think we weren’t wasting most of our loans. On average, La Serpiente gets five different books read to her at bedtime, and another at naptime each day, as well as any other reading she chooses to do in between running around. I was a worse offender, usually borrowing two books and failing to read one each week. This week it’s felt like she’s been a bit light on library books vs the ones we own, so we may need to be more selective in future. Or pay another fifty something dollars and get my wife her own card for the library too.

It’s now half way through February and I haven’t read all the books I received for my birthday and Christmas yet, but I’ve made a significant dent:

The Pirates and the Romantics – a light confection of silliness that I gobbled down in a few days after Christmas.

Look Who’s Back – Hitler wakes up in Berlin, 65 years after the end of the war, and ends up as a celebrity because nobody can distinguish the real thing from an impersonator. Hijinks ensue, including Hitler getting hospitalised after a beating from a couple of neo-Nazis. It’s a pretty dark satire, not as laugh-out-loud funny as the blurb suggests, and the first couple of pages set a standard that’s tough to maintain, but it was solid.

London Belongs To Me – speaking of solid, I didn’t realise when I put this on my wish list that it was nearly 800 pages long. I’m also mystified as to why I put it there in the first place, because I don’t remember why I’d have picked it out. I haven’t read a lot of mid-20th century fiction – was it because I read a few Dickens over the last couple of years? That mystery notwithstanding, I’m really enjoying this dense tale of South London people in the lead up to the Second World War, although I’m not quite a third of the way through.

Kraken – as yet untouched. I’ve never read a thing by China Mieville although I’ve always heard good things; once I’m back from Japan, perhaps I’ll have time to make a start on it.

I have hardly used my Kindle in over a month. That’s a shame, but also a reality that I’m not travelling, and nobody gave me e-books as presents. (I don’t think you can, on the UK Amazon site where my Kindle is registered.) Of course when I’m travelling, it’s hard to lug a book with me, given how minimalist I try to be. The other advantage, of being able to read in the dark, is not so important right now, as I have a lamp in the spare room at last, but perhaps when I’m flying in the dark again it will come back into its own.

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