· culture ·

I'm rediscovering the joy of visiting the library. I'm not talking about academic libraries (I visit them a lot) but public libraries, and borrowing fiction books. I used to be a frequent visitor when I first moved to Oxford, but at some point I lost my library card, and couldn't be bothered to get a new one. Mr. Bsag had one, and he used to sometimes get me books, but somehow that wasn't quite the same. Now I've joined the Birmingham library system, and I wander around like a kid in a sweetshop and emerge with an armful of books.

I do a lot of my reading during my commute, so about half of the books I get have to paperback and fairly small so that I don't injure my back hefting them around every day (lugging a PowerBook is bad enough). These commuting books also need to be reasonably 'light' in content as well — dense plots are hard to follow when you can only read small chunks at a time and you get distracted. Also, if it's too gripping, you tend to miss your stop.

Books that I read at home (usually in bed) can be any size and any subject matter. I try to pick books that are as diverse as possible to add a bit of variety to the experience. I look on it like creating a menu with different tastes and textures. I went though a stage as an adolescent when I read nothing but science fiction and fantasy, but thankfully I'm over that now.

Here's what's on my book pile at the moment: