Black ice, piercing winds and constantly falling snow. Time, perhaps, for some sunny literature. Not to warm oneself up, necessarily, but to embark upon one of my favourite pastimes: incongruous reading.
It’s an outpost, an offshoot, a tinkling tributary from the sparkling stream of Active Reading. And the idea is, as always, refreshingly simple. One aims to counteract the mood of a book by reading it in comparatively different surroundings; to provide a winning contrast, a revealing new perspective: a fresh context. There is little need for further explanation; nonetheless I have drawn up a small list of possible candidates for incongruous reading. And here it is:
1. Turgidovsky on the beach (I have tried this, with some success).
2. P G Wodehouse in a howling gale (I’m waiting for the right kind of gale).
3. Oa Aayorta (master of cramped, inner spaces) on the Mongolian plains (may require some planning).
The latter parenthetical comment – ‘may require some planning’ – deserves a little expansion. Reading, as I’m constantly reminding people, is not something one turns to in moments of idleness; during one’s ‘spare time’. In fact, all good reading ‘may require some planning’. Dragging your book to your favourite armchair is simply not enough. Plan ahead, dear reader, plan ahead.