I still can’t decide which book to read next. I’ve picked up The Sixth Wife, by Suzannah Dunn but it seems wrong somehow; another time might be better for that book. I’ve read three of the short stories in Ian Rankin’s A Good Hanging – they’re OK but not riveting. I don’t fancy Dante’s Descent into Hell (Inferno) today – I want something more cheerful, and not historical. They’re not the right books just now.
I had to go to the dentist yesterday as a filling had come out. Fortunately he was able to replace the filling and I didn’t have to have an injection, which I really dislike – I have a needle phobia, I think. Anyway to reward myself I went to the library for a mooch. I had only just got passed the returns desk when I saw The Maytrees by Annie Dillard on a display stand. I’d read somewhere that this is a good book and as I’ve read several of her books, particularly Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, I hoped this would be just the right book.
Then I saw Going into a Dark House by Jane Gardam on another display stand and thought that might be the right book. This is a collection of short stories, maybe as good as The Sidmouth Letters and Old Filth. But maybe not just the right book yet – I’m not really in the mood for short stories.
Further into the library and I came upon the autobiography/biography section, where I picked up two books by Joan Bakewell. Now I like Joan Bakewell, so I had a look at both of them. The Centre of the Bed is about her life from her childhood in Stockport, growing up during the war, life at Cambridge University and with the BBC as a radio and television broadcaster – called “the thinking man’s crumpet”, no less. Stockport is near where I was born and that was enough for me to borrow this book, that and the description on the book cover that said she “provides a fascinating record of the changes in British society and culture over the last seventy years.” That should be good.
Right next to that book was The View from Here: Life at Seventy, which promises to be “an exhilarating, funny and always thought-provoking take on the human condition that most of us dread and yet count ourselves lucky to achieve: old age.”
I’m not as old as that yet, but I hope to get there, so it’s best to be prepared. This may be Just The Right Book.
Then again, maybe now is the right time for The Needle in the Blood, by Sarah Bower - it's been sitting on my bookshelves for months now ...?