Incongruous Reading

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.


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