Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Decomposing books

Recently The Man came across an unexpected windfall of books for me - a whole bunch of old mysteries in a second-hand bookstore, 50 yen each. These are all Margery Allingham, Michael Innes, and Ngaio Marsh mysteries. Although the paper in these paperbacks has gone yellow and brittle from age, they look like they've never been opened, let alone read.

Reading these books has been keeping me happy on my commutes the last couple of weeks, at least when I am lucky enough to get a seat. I sit down, open a book, and sink into the comfortable snobbery of the English classic mystery. On the other hand, I cannot read standing up, because almost every time I turn a page it comes loose from the binding, no matter how careful I am. And it's impossible to control all those loose pages while standing and holding onto a strap with one hand.

I suppose I could just let the pages go. I've been passing on the better quality books, but the last two have come completely to pieces. I don't think anyone would be particularly interested in going to the effort of keeping the pages in order for long enough to read them. Perhaps I should just let them flutter around the train, and provide my fellow commuters with a little entertainment. I can just imagine some struggling language learner trying to make sense of this:

"Mr. Bertie Saracen was also immaculate, but more adventurously so. The sleeves of his jacket were narrower and displayed a great deal of pinkish cuff. He had a Berlin-china complexion, wavy hair, blue eyes and wonderfully small hands. His air was gay and insouciant. He too was a bachelor and most understandably so."

Oh, my.


Andy N. said...

oh my indeed... lol

Badaunt said...

Isn't it lovely? I'm really enjoying these books. I get the feeling the writers had a lot of fun writing them.