My library seems to be filling up with large and beautiful coffee table books at the moment (I have a strong suspicion that other libraries are sneaking them in here at night, when we aren’t looking). They ARE beautiful, with their giant pages, shiny covers, and gorgeous multi-page spreads of breathtaking photographs of exotic places. But they don’t make my heart beat faster.
Instead, and being the contrary kind of girl that I am, I am finding myself drawn to the other end of the spectrum. Beside my bed is a slim volume of short stories by A.S. Byatt; in my bag is a copy of Susan Hill’s The Small Hand; I recently finished re-reading Dan Rhodes’ Gold and Little Hands Clapping, and earlier in the year read and loved Julian Barnes’ The Sense of an Ending. I keep putting Alan Bennett’s Smut and The Uncommon Reader on the Staff Picks shelf, and I have just picked up The Library Book from the holds shelf.
I don’t know what it is about my current state of mind that is making me drawn to these wee jewels – at under 200 pages each, they certainly don’t keep me reading for very long, and I have to make sure I have at least two or three around all the time in case I finish one before my lunch break is over, but I can’t seem to go past them. Subject matter isn’t important, and neither is a fact-or-fiction differentiation. They DO have to be hard-backed copies to catch my eye, but apart from that it seems I am not fussy at all. I can quite happily dismiss the great solid tomes that everyone is carting around right now, but show me a tiny story and I have to have it.
Help me out here, folks. Point out the common thread, so I can make sense of my addiction, and then feed it by suggesting more tiny titles …