Last week I finished Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban, which might get its own post if I’m not too lazy. I found the book difficult for a couple of reasons: it uses phonetic spelling and I always struggle with variant spelling; and I’m not sure I understood all the riddles that were encompassed within that spelling and the traditional tales that were recounted.
Anyway, I do know that I want to read something entirely different next, which should be easy because I’ve never read anything that is like Riddley Walker. I just can’t make my mind up. I think this is partly down to book guilt. I bought three books last Saturday and then read them all over the remainder of the weekend, in an orgy of book gluttony of which I enjoyed every page. So now I ought to read something off my paltry TBR pile, but nothing takes my fancy.
Then, too, I’m trying to stop using Amazon in favour of local book shops. Let’s face it, I must spend about a grand a year on books, and Amazon don’t need my money when they’re getting everyone else’s. For a small business owner, though, a thousand quid can be a lot of money. And in fact, it’ll probably be more than that, because not using Amazon means I’m paying full price for my books. I don’t begrudge it, but it does make booksluttery an expensive habit. All of which means I should not nip into Woodstock and buy that biography of Wilkie Collins that Peter Ackroyd just wrote, because it’s 12 quid at least for a slim hardback I could read by lunchtime. (Authors! Write longer books!)
I don’t want total fluff, I want to put some effort in, but not loads. And I want good writing and a bit of humour, and romance and adventure. I know this mood of old, though. It’s the one in which I eventually go to the bookshop, sigh heavily at the presence of Other People, pick disconsolately through the display books, browse moodily through the shelves and feel increasingly disgruntled that The Perfect Book hasn’t been handed to me on a silver salver, with a cupcake and cup of tea and without the outrage of me having to find it for myself. Then I come home and force myself to read something from the shelves. Ten minutes later, I’m quite happy with it.
So I could negate this theoretical and fruitless book buying expedition by simply picking up with the Sword of Honour trilogy, because I am neglecting poor Guy Crouchback. Hmmm.
But first, hot cross buns! Which require a ton of patience, I can tell you. I made the dough yesterday and it’s been sitting in the fridge overnight. Then it had to get back up to room temperature; I just made the buns themselves and now they have to prove for 45 minutes, then there’s a glaze, the cross and finally they go in the oven. Well, maybe with a couple of warm-from-the-oven hot cross buns and another pot of tea, this Sunday procrastination will fade.