Notepad on Life

June 15, 2011

Book review not such a damp squib

Filed under: Books,Seasons — - @ 8:44 pm
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It went against everything a bookworm like me stands for but I was past caring.

Kindle has come to save me in the nick of time. My house has no more room for books, so when a boxful of fishing books became available, my enthusiasm was tinged with the once-unthinkable.

I explained to my wife that they would have to be kept in the garden shed, ready to serve as a summertime accompaniment for the only smoking I do all year, ever since there have been children in the house.

“But they…” she began.

“…will get damaged during winter when the weather turns damp,” I concluded. “I know but they will just have to suffer. There is no room for any more books in here.”

I read one last night, from 11.30 until 1am, as a wonderful, heavy stillness fell on the garden, in which occasional noises from the street tinkled in the darkness, like diamonds rubbing against each other at the bottom of a thick sack.

In its prime, it would be a handsome tome; impressionistic black-and-white photography blending with the succinct outdoorsman philosophy of an accomplished writer.

And as I prised its corrugated pages apart, I wondered if it was really so diminished by its dank exile through two winters.

The words still registered and  its buckled covers and paper, dried out by an unusually arid spring, were skeletal reminders of the winter rigours that make our gardens bleak, forbidden places into which we rarely venture from November to March.

I savoured afresh the mild night air on my forearms and mentally renewed a vow, born of advancing years, never again to take a summer for granted.

Maybe we should all keep a book or two in the garden shed.

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