I don't know why I've loaded my Kindle with ten million books for a one week holiday. Even if I were to read every hour we're away, I'd never get through them. All I'd do would be to regret the scenery I didn't see.
Another holiday problem will be that my family (I suspect) isn't as keen on hearing extracts from the books I read as I am keen on reading them out. This will add a little fraughtness, a little friction, a little tension into what will, otherwise, be a lovely time. But then . . . I'm not much interested in new games from Nintendo or Microsoft's Business plans. Nor the chess moves Bobby Fischer might have made when he wasn't chasing sheep in Iceland. Nor what you read when you've finished with vampires.
With gaps, I've been working my way through 'The Barchester Chronicles' (brilliant) and 'The Palliser Novels' (heavy going).
One of the good things about Trollope's books is that they are very repetitive. If you don't get anything first time round, you'll probably have managed to put everything in place by the sixteenth.
I like this because it's what we do in ordinary life.
'You know what I was saying the other day . . . ?'
And we say what we said again.
Then we say it again again several times.
And we keep saying it till something random happens to shift us onto a new tack.
Colour of wallpaper?
The roof falls in so it no longer matters.
We've been wondering whether to propose to the man down the road (what? all of us?)
- who is proposed to by a man even further down the street, says 'yes' and moves to Manchester.
Nothing to do but to weep and move on.
(After several weeks of 'if onlys')
* * *
Everybody's out, playing backgammon, shopping for milk, being educated, so there's no-one to whom I can exclaim
"Wow! It's 1873 and they're thinking about decimalising the currency!"
and there's no-body to whom I can read this (which follows) out loud . . . except, dear friends . . to you!
So . . .
'Mr Palliser, who was now Chancellor of the Exchequer, was intending to alter the value of the penny. Unless the work should be too much for him, and he should die before he had accomplished the self-imposed task, the future penny was to be made, under his auspices, to contain five farthings, and the shilling ten pennies. It was thought that if this could be accomplished, the arithmetic of the whole world would be so simplified that henceforward the name of Palliser would be blessed by all schoolboys, clerks, shopkeepers, and financiers. But the difficulties were so great that Mr Palliser's hair was already grey from toil, and his shoulders bent by the burthen imposed upon them. Mr Bonteen, with two private secretaries from the Treasury, was now at Matching to assist Mr Palliser;- and it was thought that both Mr and Mrs Bonteen were near to madness under the pressure to the five-farthing penny. Mr Bonteen had remarked to many of his political friends that those two extra farthings that could not be made to go into the shilling would put him into his cold grave before the world would know what he had done . . . '
Isn't that, on many levels, fascinating?
P.S. There was a bit in here about an Agatha Christie book where a man murders his way through a village in an attempt to get hold of enough money to buy an island where he can design and create garden. I cut it out. It won't be on my Kindle! It's not one of her best.
P.P.S. It's called 'Halloween Party'.