There I was in the Milnerton Library, queuing in the Books Out line, mind peacefully in neutral. And then I saw Mighty Woman being served by the librarian, who was partially hidden behind a rampart of books on the counter. They were in animated discussion, while Mighty Woman fiddled with an empty cherry- red backpack, which morphed into a mini-suitcase. The librarian was methodically whanging the books with her date stamp, and MW began packing them into her mini-suitcase. She plonked, piled and pushed. Methodically. The suitcase bulged and strained to accommodate her methodical packing. I gaped in awe. What the woman needed was a wheelie-case, at least the size of an airline cabin bag. She forced the zip closed, hefted it onto her hip and strode out.
I continued to gape. When I arrived at the counter I made a comment about the vast number of books she had taken out. For her extended family, I supposed? No, replied the librarian she reads them all herself. I know she does. Fifteen of them today . I was so awestruck by this revelation that I merely nodded, and trotted out with my humble pile of three books.
Now I’m a keen reader. A lifelong consumer of books. But this young lady – I would put her in the early 30s – has clearly got me beat. And its driving me crazy – who is she ? what does she read? When does she read (all night long? all day? in queues? in the bath? on the bus? on the beach? at work?) Is she devouring whodunits? Chicklit novels? Romances? Horror novels? Vampire sagas? Airport blockbusters?
Yoo-hoo! Where are you? I’m dying to talk to you and swop reading obsessions. And to hand your satin sash that says BOOKWORM CHAMP 2011.