Book written by Reginald Hill
If you’re the sort of reader extroverted enough to venture into bookstores and other places where readers exist- or perhaps just haunt websites that attract similar ilk, then you are familiar with the volume reader. Perhaps like me, your first experience of such a person is the person who buys romance novels by the handful. Growing up when and where I did, door-to-door sales had a brief heyday. At our house, this meant the occasional appearance of a catalog dropped off by some soon-to-be-forlorn rep. Our household was not geared toward buying from unexpected random strangers.
One catalog languished on various shelves in its long journey to the trash bin. At some point, I espied it face down and saw that they sold books, of all things. They had a volume deal on romances, I believe, as well as a subscription option. Being young, it never occurred to me that you might want to read that many books in a month, especially since they all looked pretty much the same. I read a lot, but come on!
Over the years, I met some of those people who bought in large numbers. Costco and Sam’s had shrink-wrapped bundles of romances. Every now and then, I chatted with someone in a mystery bookstore who was shuffling back and forth to the counter building piles of paperbacks. I’m talking about thirty or forty. The first time, I actually confronted the woman because I thought she was buying gifts. Nope, that was her month’s allotment. She explained that she preferred reading to watching television and she tended to finish a book each day.
I admire her fortitude and I appreciate her enthusiasm. Heck, I’d like to find her now and press a few books into her hands.
But I am not her.While I set aside time to read, I also set aside time for myriad other activities- not all so ennobling. Even more so, the idea of a steady literary diet of mysteries or romances or anything would drive me out of my mind. In fact, a long run of any type, even an epic-ly long single book, puts me in the mood for absolutely anything else.
Mysteries definitely fill a need when life feels like it is spinning out of control. More than almost any other genre, they provide reassurance that answers exist and perseverance pays off. More than once, I have gone deep into the genre and then backed away when life leveled off again.
This makes my steps back into the mystery pool rather tentative. Unknown authors can be exasperating, so I’m a little surprised that I grabbed The Price of Butcher’s Meat off the library shelf, since it was my first Reginald Hill and it was from the middle of a long-running series.
So, now I’ve started back at the beginning of the series and I’m slowly working my way through. Yes, I still take mystery breaks and I don’t only read Reginald Hill, but he’s in the mix because the books are so inviting. It’s like spending time with old friends, which was always the point for those high volume buyers, wasn’t it?
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