cruel deception

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover. But surely, when it’s a book you have read and loved but don’t own a copy of, when you serendipitously find one in a secondhand bookshop you can give silent thanks to Seshat, Sant Jordi, or other bookish divinities and venerable figures, and promise yourself the pleasure of revisiting beloved places and renewing acquaintance with long-lost friends?

Well, maybe. That’s certainly what I thought would happen when I found a copy of Elizabeth Goudge’s A City of Bells last weekend.
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distracted by details

Sometimes it seems that my work involves so much talking and so many emails that I run out of words and need to top up the supply by reading. At such times I revert to my childhood habit of reading indiscriminately and almost compulsively.

My tastes in fiction are fairly catholic and it’s definitely a question of quantity not quality for these binges: I don’t really care what the genre is, I just want words and more words.
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expect delays

I was slightly taken aback by the road sign in the photo.

On the one hand it’s eminently logical: if the road is to be closed for seven weeks, there probably will be delays.

On the other hand, the advice to “consider alternative route” seems to have been added as an afterthought – as if we all have so much time on our hands that we could realistically contemplate sitting in our cars waiting for seven weeks watching while the contractors dig holes and fill them in.
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a sense of order

Occasionally, offices, hotels and bars choose books as a decorative element in their communal and public spaces, particularly if they have such a suitable setting and furniture as the room in the photo.

Of course, such lovely old shelves require a certain standard or style of books and, all too often, these are bought for the bindings rather than the content.
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comfort reading

Somewhere in a lock-up unit in Spain, in a box surrounded by other boxes filled with books, is my copy of The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge.

It’s a simple, moral story of love and truth, where faith and magic work together to set the world to rights; It’s also one of the books I turn to when I’m in need of comfort. (At least it was before I had to leave it in storage and it will be again, I am sure.)
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