Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Words, words, words!

So many words to read in so many different books and in so many different languages, and so little time to do this in!  I have a large pile of books sitting waiting for me to read – books I have borrowed from the local library (most of them), books I have bought secondhand from Oxfam or on-line, and then (just a few) books I have bought for myself using a generous book token given to me for my birthday a few weeks ago.

Looking at this pile, I realise again, as I have increasingly begun to realise, that I have no chance of re-reading any but a few of the many of my own books filling my book- cases.  Sometimes I look longingly at volumes of Marcel Proust (in French, of course – being a linguist), which are waiting hopefully for me to open their pages again, many, many years after I used them to work on as part of an (unsuccessful) postgraduate degree.  I say to myself that if I decide to submerge myself once again in Proust’s glorious French I will not be able to read anything new for at least a few months – and I don’t want to sacrifice for this the time I would like to dedicate to discovering some exciting new writer who will open my eyes to a new world of words.

The only writers I have regularly re-read in the past are some of the classical authors, such as Dickens, Trollope or George Eliot, and, perhaps considered slightly odd, some old-fashioned detective stories which belonged to my mother and to which I return again and again as they envelop me in a familiar and comfortable world of the past, such as Ellis Peters or Patricia Wentworth.

I now have an absolute font of knowledge about good detective stories.  As for many people, they are my escape into a fantasy world where the good always triumphs and the bad is eventually defeated.  In the real world the opposite often seems to be true, and particularly so now.  In these very uncertain times, I need an escape route like this which goes some way to relieving some of the distress I feel at what is happening in the world outside.


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