Norman Rockwell’s “The Bookworm”

I’ve always loved reading books. As a child I never went anywhere without one and often resorted to reading under the covers with a flashlight after lights out. Even now there’s nothing I enjoy better than an early night with a good book. I’m also a very quick reader. My beloved used to think this meant I really hadn’t read the book properly and would quiz me about it afterwards. He’s never caught me out.

Whenever I go anywhere quite often my first port of call is a book shop where I’ll happily while away a couple of hours browsing in the cookery and sports sections. Because I only ever travel with hand luggage if I’m flying, I’ll often make notes on the books that interest me and then order them from Amazon. If I’m in the car, I’ll buy them from the shop.

Once I’ve read a novel, it’s unusual for me to read it again, although there are exceptions. Generally, novels get passed  around my family, our circle of friends and eventually end up at the local old folks home. That is local to my parents. Cookery and Sports books however never, ever get passed on. Indeed, I rarely even lend them to people. There’s a very limited list of people who are allowed to borrow my books. My beloved is not on the list. He once committed the unpardonable sin of borrowing a book and losing it. That’s it, one strike and he’s out, no more chances. I have a number of signed limited editions, these never leave the apartment and I’ve been known to check that people have clean hands below allowing them to touch said books.

Since giving up full-time employment, interestingly I read less, not more. Before, I would always have a book, or indeed a couple of books on the go, which I would read on my various travels: week-end trips to and from Nice, train trips to see my team in Cheltenham, car and train trips to watch football matches. Nowadays, it’s a real treat to spend time reading and, when I receive a bulk delivery from Amazon, it’s as if all my Christmas’s have arrived together. One such delivery arrived last Friday: several new cookery tomes plus a number of books on cycling and cyclists. I’m trying to pace myself but the temptation is just to dive in and to hell with everything else!

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