He read the paragraph again. And again, this time mouthing the words as he read. No, it could not be. But it is, said the voice. A cold dread touched his neck like the fingers of a dead man. He could not look round. He heard the shuffling sliding dusty sound move closer. His eyes rolled white and his teeth clamped tight on his tongue. The sound was near enough to touch and the voice…
I pile the books in a pile
and rest my feet on them.
I flex my feet, curl my toes.
My socks don’t seem to match.
One day I will read them all.
One day they will be mine.
Some people burn books
for books can burn souls;
light hearts through reading –
wild future dreams come
I hear my words in my voice.
But if you then roll them round your tongue,
smooth sour sweet pebbles of thought I have,
are they still mine or are they now yours and yours only?
There lies the man who will not hear his words
repeated by another.
He closes his ears and eyes.
Another’s interpretation must be
of and in itself
a wrong one
and this dissonance will misshape the future.
But I am willing to take a risk.
Words past written are the past
and your voice overtaking is just one of many.
I shall sit and record and listen and wonder
and perhaps never write again.
- Have you ever damaged a book?
Minor damage only. During the week I usually only read in bed and if I give up on a book it can end up thrown across the bedroom. If they hit the wardrobe at an angle, they usually glance off, but if it’s a direct spine-on hit, the damage is visible.
- Have you ever damaged a borrowed book?
Never that I remember. Someone must really like a book to recommend it, let alone lend it, so that would be unforgiveable, as would damaging a library book.
- How long does it take you to read a book?
It depends on the book and on where I am and what I am doing. Earlier in the year I took 6 weeks to finish a book, while when I was holiday I was reading one a day or every two days.
- Books you haven’t finished?
Too many to mention. Life is too short. I always give a book a fair chance though. And the important thing to remember, as in any relationship, it could be me, it could be the book, or it could be a combination.
- Hyped/Popular books you didn’t like?
By the time I read books they are usually well past their hyper period – my to-be-read shelves are groaning, especially after the Edinburgh Book Festival.
- Is there a book you wouldn’t tell anyone you were reading?
I can’t imagine one.
- How many books do you own?
Most of the shelves in the flat are double-lined with books, the ones in the rear alphabetically ordered, the ones in front piled up in ‘when-bought’ stacks.
- Are you a fast/slow reader?
Fast. I spent some time in hospital when I was young and started reading a book a day. My parents could not quite believe it.
- Do you like to buddy read?
I am not sure what that means but I do like talking about books with others.
- Do you read better in your head/out loud?
I do not often read out loud. I did take part in Iraq Out Loud though, where the Chilcot report was read out 24/7 (iraqoutloud.com). That was a fascinating experience.
- If you were only allowed to own one book, what would it be and why?
None rather than one. If you are going to be extreme, go all the way.
“Open the book, hold it in front of you, breathe in the words through your eyes.” I was the only one who couldn’t. The book closed.