Friday, 12 June 2015


I read very little fiction and I read even fewer non-fact books that I have never read before.
I do not like stories generally and I especially detest internal monologue. Unless it is from real people. Mostly I read the stories I have read before.

"I'm always so ashamed when I discover how well-read other people are and how ignorant I am in comparison. If you saw the long list of famous books and authors I've never read you wouldn't believe it. My problem is that while other people are reading fifty books I'm reading one book fifty times. I only stop when at the bottom of the page 20, say, I realise I can recite 21 and 22 from memory. Then I put the book away for a few years."
                                                               Helene Henff, p. 199, The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street
She is the author of 84 Charing Cross Road.

The latest book of fiction that was added to my list of fifty books was PopCo by Scarlett Thomas. I read it at least six times after another during a year and keep referring to it in a number of occasions. 


  1. I have to confess (why confess?) that these days I read very little new fiction. I do read a lot of 'classics' which I do read over and over again: Tolstoy, Flaubert, Zola, Gide, George Elliot. I read enormous amounts of non-fiction because that is a requisite of my professional background, but also to satisfy high levels of curiosity. I wonder what it is about the fiction you do re-read.

  2. I have read Riding the Iron Rooster, Paul Theroux, his railway journey through China, so many times I know where the words are on each page in my mind. That is partly to do with having a photographic memory but also because I take the book with me when I am travelling as a sort of comfort blanket to read. I bought my copy in a secondhand shop and it was already well read. It is now well dog-eared. I read mainly travel books but also enjoy a good read in fiction. I do not go for "chic lit" as they call it. I like Thomas Hardy and have read Jude the Obscure about 5 times. No other work of fiction comes close to that for me.