One guilty pleasure that I had in my days before children was wandering into a bookshop, browsing the tables of new releases that they all have just inside the door and then coming home with a selection of books that I didn't need, but that had inspired me to read them based purely on the back covers and any review comments that the bookshop themselves had displayed. With a toddler in tow that just doesn't happen any more - picking up what you need in a supermarket is hard enough, let alone being able to browse and daydream about the stories and characters that these books may contain.
I still read - not quite as much as when I was commuting into London - and always have a book on the go, but now they are normally things that people have passed on to me or charity shop finds. It was a lovely surprise therefore when Mr C presented me with a copy of The Imperfectionists on my birthday. He'd managed to do what I miss so much - wander into a bookshop and just been inspired by what he read on the backcover - and I was so glad that he had.
In The Imperfectionists we see the stories of eleven separate but linked characters, all of who depend in some way on an international newspaper that was founded in Rome in the 1950s. It's never been a conventional paper though and the readers who have stuck with it since the early days are ones that are more interested in the paper's own eccentricities than the news it carries. In the modern days of online publishing and 24 hour TV news the paper is struggling to continue in its paper form. The fact that it doesn't even have a website isn't exactly helping matters.
Whilst people still depend on the paper, either for their jobs or due to their own eccentricities, it seems that many of them are wrapped up in everything else that is going on in their lives, in some cases so much so that they don't really notice how the paper itself is coping with these changing times.
The vignettes presented in this book just made me realise how much I miss reading new books. I've possibly become a bit too familiar with the characters (or just the types of characters?) and their scenarios in the books I've been reading lately and maybe that's been turning me into a reader who's has not been taken out of their comfort zone lately.
One thing's for sure - once this new baby arrives and I have nighttime feeds to get through again, I'll be treating myself to a bit of time in a local bookshop to pick up some reading material to get me through the hours of being sat with a baby stuck to my breast. Time to get out of this reading rut that I've realised I'm in!