I have, in recent months, returned to spending more and more time with those old friends of my youth, namely, books. Yesterday I picked up a free one in front of the supermarket, which bears a small label upon its front, affixed with scotch tape, reading TAKE ME HOME I’m a BookCrossing.com book I am a very good book. Please take me with you. I promise to behave.
In short, I am reading Devices and Desires, a detective novel no less, written by P. D. James, published in 1989. It is English. I find it (so far only on page 69 of 466 pages) rather dense but engaging, even challenging. It has landscapes and people, described and detailed with skill and psychological depth. I hope it continues to proceed (is that redundant?) with at least the same intensity and challenge.
Challenge. I have in recent years grown inordinately lazy – well, I have always been lazy, truth be told – but recently much more so intellectually (again I have always been intellectually lazy, but more so recently because…) because I believe and point the finger casting blame upon the internet so simple so quick so easy. Yet here I am again, delving within an almost 500-page piece of writing. Yes. Challenge.
The main character is a detective, the one and only Adam Dagliesh. I have seen his television version or vision or revision on PBS, but am at present reflecting how much more dense a book is than a TV show or film. Again, the question of “lazy” reader (or “viewer”) crosses my mind. It seems that my old friends, the hand-written books, can be much more demanding than a movie or television drama. Oh yes.
I could never read this book in an hour, for example. Not even in two or four. Oh no. Furthermore, I seriously doubt I would be able – nor willing – to power through this book like I raced through two Heinlein sci-fi novels in scarcely three days last week. Still, the story has hooked me, and I may be reading more and more of it, all the way to the end, so… well. We shall see what we shall see.
And, yes, yes, yes, I confess, I have already skipped ahead a couple of times to try and see if I have correctly guessed who the killer really is, even at this early stage. But so far, my literary “burglary” has not achieved its nefarious ends before attacks of reader’s guilt assault me and I turn back to where I am regularly reading straight and forward like an honest, alphabetic, workman.
6 June 2015.