The useful art of skipping:
Somerset Maugham was all for skipping parts of books because "a sensible person does not read a novel as a task. He reads it as a diversion". Robert McCrum has been pondering this and feels attitudes - and writing - have changed since Maugham's day. Click on that link to read more (without missing bits, of course) and see the contemporary novels in which he feels skipping is justified - of the three, I've read only the Byatt and I didn't skip at all, but then I'd have to be hard-pressed not to read every word of a book. How about you? And do you see novels as task or diversions?
Books to the fore:
One of my best books of last year (the full list is here) was Half of the Human Race by Anthony Quinn (apparently out in paperback now), and I'm pleased to see it has been chosen as one of the TV Book Club's latest 'Best Reads'. I have three other books on that list waiting to be read, but I also have my eye on The Somnambulist by Essie Fox and Girl Reading by Katie Ward - have you read them?
If, like me, you could always do with another book, and you haven't already entered the draw to win one, please do have a go.