Thursday, November 12, 2009

Reading while bleeding

Got an e-mail from an old friend, apologising for the fact that she’s only just finished The Noughties, because she doesn’t commute and as a result barely reads anything these days. I sort of know what she means; I’ve got piles upon piles of unread books over two continents, that show no sign of succumbing to erosion. Quite the opposite, in fact. It’s only when I’m on trains and boats and planes that I’m forced into a state of prolonged concentration.

This seems to be a fairly widespread phenomenon. I must admit that a quantity of drink was taken on Tuesday night: Red Stripe for Billy, Guinness, then vodka for your correspondent. But not nearly as much as had been encountered by a gentleman I saw on the way home, barely able to stand, blood trickling from a mysterious wound on his flushed, sweaty forehead. But once he’d boarded the train at Old Street and managed, after several attempts, to achieve a satisfactory bottom/seat interface, he got stuck into a battered paperback of Thomas Mann short stories.


Valerie said...

Thomas Mann seems almost appallingly appropriate, as if he'd staged either the book or the head wound for the purpose of dramatic impact.

I, too, am subject to the double-stacked, floor-to-ceiling bookcase of unread books phenom. I seem to react by, when I do have time, rereading old books while starting another six or so new ones. The predictable result is that the new ones are all unfinished and I'm on the fifth re-read Dorothy Sayers in the last month. Whoops.

Billy said...

I can never read when seriously drunk. Focussing becomes difficult.

Tim Footman said...

Yes, Valerie; I did wonder if he’d been in a duel or something similar.

It was clearly a trial for this chap, Billy; but he was having a go.

Steerforth said...

I've switched to beer because I'd got into a routine of walking through the door at 7.00, knocking down several glasses of wine in quick succession and spending the rest of the evening aimlessly surfing the internet or writing nonsense on my blog. The books would lie unread.

Tonight I bought four cans of beer. I never drink cans. They were so horrible that I could only stomach a couple and remained sober enough to read a novel.

patroclus said...

I have spent the entire Noughties sober. Perhaps this is why I still haven't managed to finish the Baroque Cycle.