Monday, 2 November 2009


I came across an interesting literary site today that was previously unknown to me, called The Millions. At the moment, there is a series of interesting posts on the subject of 'difficult' books, i.e. those canonical titles which deter many readers because of their length, complexity or related qualities.

As always with these lists, reading the posts caused several arrows of literary shame to lodge themselves in my psyche, each one representing a classic it is particularly embarrassing not to have read. Interestingly, among these is Anatomy of Melancholy, which I have just renewed through my local library, having failed to make significant progress with it during the first three week loan period. I also have to admit Tristram Shandy and Clarissa into my Hall of Shame. I was pleased to register full marks, however, for, among others, Moby Dick and As I Lay Dying (not really, I think, a difficult book).

At the risk of boring everybody, let me again extol the virtues of the modern library world, whose features include the ability to renew one's books by telephone. I'm increasingly relying on my local outlet, rather than our bookshop, to lead me to undiscovered and interesting books.


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