Three more books arrived today. I shouldn’t let this get me down. Obviously, in many ways it’s a very nice aspect of my job that I keep being sent interesting new books – for free. But the pile of unread tomes on my desk is a bit lowering.
One of the British Sunday papers has a quiz that includes the question “what percentage of the books on your shelves have you actually read?” My answer has always been – “about 50%” – and even that is probably charitable. But with new books arriving all the time, my hit rate is going down fast.
The three that arrived today are “Fidel Castro, My Life” (Penguin) by – well – Fidel Castro; “The Powers to Lead” (Oxford) by Joseph Nye – he of “soft power” fame. And “In Sickness and in Power” (Methuen) – a tome by David Owen, a former British foreign secretary and doctor, about people who fell ill when in power. I have put all three on the pile and I look at them occasionally – and they look back at me, reproachfully.