Flic’s Column

Book her, officer…


I haven’t read a really good book for ages. Or at least, not properly, the way you read when you’re immersed so deeply in a novel that actual real live people speaking to you are just an annoyance, because can’t they see you’ve got imaginary people you’d rather spend time with? People who are actually doing something interesting, whose inner thoughts are perfectly clear, but who require nothing from you other than the turning of pages.

I will genuinely read anything, from Mills & Boon (I tried to write one once when I was very hard up and it’s a lot harder than you think) to dark psychological thrillers to door-stop literary novels, to celebrity autobiographies with spangly embossed covers. And actually, Katie Price’s memoirs are quite entertaining. In fact, I love reading to the extent that I was once sent to the sick room at school and was so desperate for reading matter I ended up memorising the back of the air freshener can.

As a child I read constantly – in bed, in the bath, on the bus, hanging upside down from trees, hiding from the PE teacher in the school library, and while I ate my tea, absently forking up curly fries while in my head, I was in Katy’s bedroom in What Katy Did, comforting her while she sobbed after her terrible accident, or skipping off to the lake of shining waters with Anne of Green Gables, or playing pranks on Matron with Darrell at boarding school at Malory Towers, or dancing exquisitely alongside Posy Fossil in Ballet Shoes…

As an adult, this never really changed. I still routinely stay up till the early hours and miss my stop on trains because I’m so gripped by what’s happening on the page. In fact, embarrassingly, I once went to Rhyl on the train by mistake, when I should have been in Manchester, because I was reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Buckbeak was about to be executed (I was 34 at the time. What can I say?).

It’s only recently that I’ve found myself reading less books. I’m tired so I end up watching TV then going straight to bed, or I can’t find anything I desperately want to read, or I haven’t got time to be gripped because I have things to do…

But this has to stop. There is no greater joy than a fresh book. (It doesn’t have to be new – most of mine come from charity shops.) So this week, I am going to start reading something new. Possibly The Girls by Lisa Jewell, which is reviewed in Candis in August and sounds brilliantly gripping.

Though I may not pay you much attention, once I begin reading.

August Candis is out now. Click here to subscribe

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