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Book Itch

I knew I'd put the last two books somewhere safe. Somewhere memorable. It was time to leave to go meet a_d_medievalist, but without a book to read on the train, I found myself searching the house for those last two unread books. I knew where the last five I'd read were, but it was too soon to reread any of them. I knew where hundreds of others were, read and unread, but taped away in boxes, they were effectively inaccessible when in a hurry. Eventually, despite it all, I need to go. I took Gaiman's Odd and the Frost Giants, and finished it one stop before my destination.

For years, I've been thinking of myself as a non-compulsive reader. In Toronto, I couldn't afford to be in the middle of unscheduled non-academic reading when I had work to do; my mind would be distracted. At Limehouse, my travels were broken up into segments, five minutes here, ten minutes there. A book was pleasant, but an optional extra. I could spent ten minutes looking at subway posters, or just pondering the world. Sure, I still needed books for longer-distance travel (trains, planes), but they were merely choice distractions; good conversation or an mp3 player would do just as well.

But yesterday, worry of being on the Underground for 45 minutes without a book niggled at me, and a_d_medievalist kindly accompanied me while I choice from a limited selection of bestsellers at a small W.H. Smith (enabling, along the way, my first glimpse of the renovated grandeurs of St. Pancras). I couldn't loiter and I recognized almost none of the books. major_clanger's recent endorsement of Marr's History of Modern Britain swayed one of my purchased, and for my half-price second, I went with a Richard and Judy book list endorsement, Addition, for lighter prose. Worry asuaged, I went on to nab yet another book in the BSFA raffle. I was more than set for my ride home last night, a selection of books weighing me down, and peace in my book-needy mind.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 24th, 2008 03:16 pm (UTC)
I actually keep a few things downloaded on my phone (and an e-book reader installed) for just such emergencies. Project Gutenberg has yielded, among other things, a collection of Dunsany short stories, which makes for suitably short bits of reading material for journeys. The Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes collection I got from there was was useful too. I'd read the tales befotre but not any time recently. (I've also read a novel or two in snippets between other things that way. Once again, things harvested for free off project Gutenberg)
Jul. 24th, 2008 04:52 pm (UTC)
Once upon a time, many years ago, I had a working Psion, and on it I kept short stories from the Gutenberg project for reading in just those moments. Since it died, I haven't had a PDA or eBook reader, and my phone is not so functional. Should I ever again have an appropriate device, though, it's a good idea.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )