Throughout the winter I dream of the long lazy days of summer when I will be able to sit in the garden and do nothing but read all through the hours of light. It’s a dream that keeps me going as the wind howls round my own little corner of winter and I try not to look up every second minute to see whether or not it has started snowing.
The trouble is that what I always forget is that once such blowsy days arrive I then spend every second minute trying to stay awake. In part this is due to the antihistamines that vainly battle against the hay fever which I also manage to conveniently forget about, but it is also a fact that I am always more alive and alert when it is is cold, however much I might dislike the fact.
So, while it is really pleasant to be typing this with the French windows thrown wide open and Thomas Allen on the CD player singing Songs of Summer, I have to admit that there is precious little reading going on in the Bear Pit at the moment. I must finish Martha Quest before this time next week, because not only is it our next book group read but it was my choice and I am leading the discussion, both considerations that ought to go some way towards lifting me out of my lethargy. I also have a couple of teaching sessions coming up that have to be prepared and I really need to go and dig around in the library at Stratford for one of them. Well, you can imagine what will happen if I go over there, can’t you? One look at the boats on the river and I shall be finished. I love river boats.
So, in lieu of any true book talk I throw out to a question tweeted by our library this morning: which is the book that you have pretended to have read when in actuality you have never got past the first few pages?
I am hoping that where I’m concerned it isn’t going to turn out to be the aforementioned Martha Quest. It always used to be Wuthering Heights but so many people now know that I have never been able to read it that it probably doesn’t count any longer. I think I would have to plump for Midnight’s Children. After all how can you admit to never having read the Booker of Booker’s? Whenever it comes up in conversation I nod in what I hope are all the appropriate places and pray that no one is going to ask me to comment on anything in detail.
But what about you? What are you finally willing to own up to having to pretended to have read in order to save face? Don’t worry, we’re all friends here and we won’t tell anyone else your ghastly secret – promise!