This is a dreary photo of the view from a coffee shop across a shopping centre car park to a brown box on the other side of a busy road. But the uninspiring brown box is actually a branch of our local library system and was a place I visted this week.
I had read where tthe librarians were having a “book chat” for an hour each month. That sounded very appealing. It’s some time since I’ve belonged to a book club and this way I didn’t have to take my turn as hostess, no cleaning of the house, no massive supper spread to prepare.
So I went along armed with my copy of my latest love, Cloud Atlas, prepared to gush about its many allures but also looking forward to finding out which books others were enjoying.
I was the only person who arrived. Can you believe that. The first month one arrived, the second no-one came and this month there was just me. But it was a stand-out hour for me this week. Talking non-stop books with the librarian ( a complete stranger) and learning each other likes and dislikes. Hopefully I’ve persuaded her that Henning Mankell is a crime author well worth reading and helped her understand Cloud Atlas so that she will now finish it. And she has persuaded me to give Wolf Hall another try. By the way, I call Cloud Atlas a circular novel because once I got to the end I had to go straight back to the beginning and start it again. I tend not to look up reviews etc while I’m in the middle of a book but once I was finished I found the forums and blogs about this book most helpful. I was so gratified when they picked up on points which I had noticed and so pleased to be told about the references which I had missed.
I hope the librarian enjoyed the hour as much as I did. For me it was then straight over to the coffee shop to sit and look back at that building with its bleak exterior hiding its magical books.