Before B’s diagnosis, I used to read a lot. I always had a novel on the go and was in a book club (sometimes two). In recent months though, I’ve found it difficult to concentrate. Where previously I got through a few chapters on the tube each day, lately I’ve been unable to face anything more challenging than The Metro or The Evening Standard. My knowledge of funny looking animals and bizarre human accidents is at an all time high.
This needs to change. On Monday B and I are going to hear readings from the Booker Prize shortlist at the Southbank Centre. I would have liked to have made a start on Will Self’s Umbrella before that, but as it’s been described as 400 pages of unbroken stream-of-consciousness dotted across three time frames, leaping jaggedly between four points of view, and with barely a paragraph break, let alone a chapter heading, I decided to start with something simpler.
By that I do NOT mean Confessions of a shopaholic or anything of its chick lit ilk. I will never, ever, plumb those literary depths, although I was known to partake of the occasional Louise Bagshawe in my youth (long before she became distasteful MP Louise Mensch).
I’m reading Howard Jacobson’s Zoo Time, and am really enjoying it so far. He gets mixed reviews but I think he has a real flair for comedic writing, and I thought The Finkler question deserved the Booker in 2010.
Mr Self is next on my list. He lives at Stockwell so I always look out for him on the tube. I have a Kindle but received Umbrella in physical form as a gift (thanks Mandy). If Will sees me he’ll know I’m reading his book, and won’t assume I’m getting steamed up over Fifty shades of grey like everyone else with an e-Reader.