July 15

Books & blinds

I enjoyed the good weather, honestly I did. But there’s part of me that has always secretly relished the prospect of a drizzly afternoon. When the heavens open and it lashes it down, giving the air a thick, chilly lick, I feel no guilt whatsoever in remaining inside and assuming the foetal position on the sofa with a book. This week I have been re-reading a favourite, Siri Hustvedt’s What I Loved. Despite knowing what happens, it’s a novel so utterly compelling that I’ve been functioning on autopilot. Last night, I took it into the bath and lost all track of time, only to emerge, prune like, after an hour. Still reading, I headed to the kitchen, more through habit than hunger. Opening the fridge, the pathetic yellow light illuminated little more than some moulding cheddar, tartar sauce and what may once have been a carrot, so I returned to the sofa with my book. Determined to get to the end, I turned my phone to silent, fought off tiredness and ignored the streetlights flicking on outside. I remember getting to the last page and that wave of emotion that comes with the end of a book you have loved. But the next thing I knew, it was morning. I’d forgotten to shut the blinds and a laser-like light seared open my eyes. My stomach threatened to devour itself and gurgled angrily, reminding me that I had neglected it and missed dinner. My limbs creaked in protest at being concertinaed into a two-seater Ikea sofa for eight hours. And suddenly the idea of reading all night when I had a day’s work ahead of me, a commute, meetings to prepare for, PRs to catch up with, pitches to hone and writing to be done, didn’t seem half so sensible or even romantic. So today is all about coffee. And an early night. And then maybe a small virtual shopping trip to Amazon to order Hustvedt’s latest offering…


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