Posted By DMB

We are all adapting in our own ways to this modern plague, learning daily new tricks to outwit boredom. Those of us who read books have a huge edge these days and we have been transformed from curious nerds into people who have barely time to chat on the phone with our desperately bored friends who’s houses are empty of books. They still don’t understand. But we continue what we always have done reading, reading, and rereading. I myself am rereading the entire oeuvre of my favourite authors from 20 to 40 years ago.

My cousin Liz Warrener, a retired librarian, tells me she and her book club are reading the whole of Jane Austen and are currently having heated online arguments about Northanger Abbey.

I wear the same clothes for a week getting seedier every day. Instead of grooming myself for the world I’m reading different chapters of eight history texts over coffee.

I write less, but longer emails to various friends world-wide, to my mind the greatest benefit of our new electronic reality (except for ease of research for us book people). I walk around the block every day. The world seems more peaceful, if more distant, and I’ve been watching more free movies many of which I didn’t know existed.

While baseball didn’t announce another spring, I’ve had complete replays of both the World Series from 92 and 93 bringing back wonderful memories. And even last year’s triumph of the Raptors has been shown in full.

My friend Eric X, ensconced in an undisclosed location, in a house full of books, clocks, and old musical instruments (he’s still leery of book thieves even though I tell him that he’s safe from thieves, because even if they stole his books they’d have nowhere to sell them – except maybe to me – and he knows I would never stoop so low as to buy his stolen treasures. Some are so important and unique that I’d have to keep them myself – I couldn’t sell them for fear of being caught. Why would I buy his copy of Stevenson’s Treasure Island which was Long John Silver’s own copy – it really is, Long John was modelled on Stevenson’s friend W.H. Henley and Eric X’s copy is the very one which Stevenson inscribed to Henley. It’s unsaleable on the open market, perfectly safe I assure Eric.) I mention Mr. X here for the following anecdote: When the horrible plague first descended and we were ordered to stay at home Eric said to his wife, “Gee, we’ll be completely isolated,” whereupon Mrs X replied, “Eric, you’ve been isolated for years.” Eric realized his status wasn’t changing at all. He’s been at home reading ever since he retired. Another gift for us life-long readers!

I’ve been sorting old papers (another blog on that, later) and books. I’ve already found so many books I didn’t remember I’d bought that I have enough new reading for a long time. Along with the recent development where my old man’s natural reduction in memory has caused me to forget what I’ve read – almost before I’ve finished the book I’m reading, has also rendered my entire thriller / mystery section into unread books. This means that I’m safe for a very long time.

Still, I do miss baseball and fiddling around with flowers and plants. And chatting with the neighbours. And playing with my books in the store. But it will pass.

Last note: I now watch once a week Gary Oldman’s magnificent portrayal of Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour just to remind myself how bad it can get. We’re a long way yet from that. Also, the sports channel, desperate to fill space keeps playing Field of Dreams. I’ve seen it 5 or 6 times in the last month (instead of my usual once a year). We will prevail.

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