Does the current climate really demand the easy option in all media — do we all choose quick reads and eschew anything intellectually demanding? I’m not so sure that an adaptable and evolving species can be summed up in such apocryphal terms, but right now I’m going to weaken my own personal viewpoints by avoiding sensible discussion and focusing on her questions.
The one that stands out for me is
Question 15: Have you ever embarrassed yourself whilst discussing books?
Here’s my answer:
At every opportunity.
The first time, I was 13. It was the school holidays and I was visiting a friend. Away from school, we’d been reading Jackie, Cosmo and the like — and although I loved them, I figured they weren’t great literature.
One night, her parents hosted a party and her very lovely author-grandad asked what I was reading.
“Oh, nothing much,” I said, “just magazines and -”
“And?” he was genuinely interested.
I’d been going to say ‘crap’, but I didn’t want to say ‘crap’ to a grandad, and right there and then, I forgot every other word in the dictionary. “Ummm,” I said, “dollop.”
As if ‘dollop’ wasn’t bad enough, HE THOUGHT I SAID TROLLOPE.
What happened next was a lesson in small and painful social deaths, as he talked about Trollope and I made the transition from thinking he was talking about dollops to realising that I had the intellect and social skills of a raisin.
I have not used the word ‘dollop’ since, but this blog post is a very freeing experience so from now on, I might.