The Last Book

tumblr_lptmh1EY1E1r1sle6o1_500I have a new mattress.

Wow!  I can hear you all saying.  That is just what I wanted to read about today.  Bear with me.  It is, I promise you, highly book related.

Last night was the first night on said mattress and, as I’m sure you all appreciate, such a night is never likely to be the best night’s sleep you ever had.  Consequently, while I’m sure most of my dreams could be summed up as a load of rubbish, I just happen to remember what last night’s load of rubbish was about.

I was in Stratford, on my way to a performance of The Merchant of Venice, when it became apparent that there was some sort of panic going on.  A deadly spore was working its way down the country and there was nothing that could be done about it.  Death was imminent for us all.  (Shades of John Wyndham, I would have to say, although I haven’t read him for years.)

Well, it takes more than a threat of immediate death to stop me going to the theatre, so it was quite late at night when I got home and settled down with The Bears to discuss what we were going to do about this dire state of affairs.  The answer was precisely nothing – except work out which of the unread library books upstairs in the study we were going to try and read before this ultimate in library closures came upon us.

Now I think you have to admit that The Bears and I had got our priorities right.  If the world is coming to and end then make sure you read as many books as you can before the calamity hits.  When I woke up and discovered that for once it really was all just a dream, I was interested to remember that I wanted to go for new books rather than spending time with old favourites.  But what about you?  If a John Wyndham-like plague were to sweep across the country and you knew you only had time to read one last book what would you choose?

Perhaps what I should have looked for was a volume on how to choose a mattress that is dream-proof!


25 thoughts on “The Last Book

  1. Haha! Glad to know you have your priorities right! Hmm… a very difficult question. I’d need serious cheering-up, so I think one last re-read of ‘Three Men in a Boat’ might be in order. Oh, no! Just remembered! I still have the third book in the Laidlaw trilogy to read!!

    1. That was my position exactly, FF. It was the fact that I had three books that were all the next in a series that was worrying me. Could I get through them all before my time was up?

  2. Maybe Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. That’s a nice long book that would use up all my remaining life minutes, and it would keep me cheerful(ish) until the end. Or Jane Eyre — one last time! I’ve never read Jane Eyre enough times.

    1. Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell is a book I had great difficulty with, Jenny. Perhaps I ought to spend my last days trying to find a way into it, but I think when push came to shove I would go with something I was fairly certain I would enjoy.

  3. I’d definitely go for an unread book – the problem being which one. I spend too much time deciding what to read next and this is exactly the question I was thinking about when I logged on to the computer this morning! I’d probably grab one and hope it would be a good one – maybe I should do that right now … 🙂

    1. I suspect the oncoming plague might concentrate your mind wonderfully, Margaret. When I thought about it properly after I’d woken up I did know which of the half a dozen on th shelf I would have gone for first.

  4. Oh my goodness! What a dream! And thank goodness it really was just a dream. I suspect I’d either go done still trying to figure out what to read or I’d spend my remaining time rereading favorite poems from my poetry shelves.

    1. I’m sure the coming catastrophe would sharpen your mind and your decision making process, Stefanie. Poetry is a good idea. The more I’ve thought about this the more I’ve wondered what I would do if I was taken ill half way through the chosen book and have to die not knowing how it ended.

  5. I would read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy out loud. Nothing to give one courage about the end of the world like a book in which the world is destroyed to make room for an intergalactic highway and then you get to see the book with the friendly cover that says “Don’t Panic” and are reminded to take a towel.

    1. I think Stefanie is right in that in that poetry would be the choice. I would go for the Heaney/Hughes anthology The Rattle Bag for its enormous range of voices.

    2. This is the most terrible confession, Jeanne, but I’ve never read ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide’. This is something I should really rectify before the end of the world actually does have a chance to overtake us all.

      1. It’s not to everyone’s taste. But I can never decide which is my most favorite of all, for rereading again–The Hitchhiker’s Guide, or Othello.

      2. Not only is the whole “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” series worth this sort of attention (and by cheating a little, you could consider it one long book), but two other books by Adams, “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency” and “The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul” (as well as “Mostly Harmless”) are too. The man just has a real knack for off-beat comedy and satire.

          1. Dear Alex, I was attempting a sort of Scheherazade-like meta-joke about keeping the plague away by deliberately choosing a longish novel series to read (and then of course it being Douglas Adams, there might well be an alternate universe to escape into!).

    1. The Bears are much gratified that their dear friend Litlove thought to ask although a little disappointed that you didn’t automatically recognise that only Paddington would do. It has always been a matter of great relief to me that Paddington is fictional. Imagine the havoc he and my lot could wreck if they ever got together!

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