Saturday, 1 February 2020

Birthday presents

are usually books in this household. It makes no difference that the Senior Cat will turn 97 on the 5th of February or that he already has an extensive library. He will get books given to him.
I bought him two. One is called, "Around the world in 80 trees". It is by Jonathon Drori. A friend of his recommended it. I think the Senior Cat will enjoy it in a "dipping in" sort of way. The other is Tom Holland's "Dominion" which he will read slowly but read from beginning to end.
I will need to read these too - so that the Senior Cat has someone to discuss the ideas with. I find myself doing this more and more now.
   "Do not," I tell him, "expect me to read books about conjuring. If you want to talk about those then find someone else."
I am still a much faster reader than the Senior Cat but I am not as fast as I used to be. There isn't quite the same need for speed as there was when I prowled off to law school.
The amount of reading we were given to do in law school far exceeded the amount I had to do in my other university courses.  It was no good just reading the "head notes" - those useful little notes at the top of a case that told you the main points. Some of the younger students tried to get away with that - and they did when the lecturer was not the sort to pounce and ask, "Now what did the judge actually say here..."  The more mature students knew that we really did need to read an know precisely what was said. "Keeping up with the reading" was something you did if you were sensible.
I complained to my first  year tutor that my reading speed had dropped dramatically.
   "And how fast are you reading Cat?" she asked.
I told her. She laughed and said, "That's about three or four times faster than most students - and we know you are taking it in. Many of them aren't yet and some of them never will be fast."
It was the language and the vocabulary of course.  There were members of staff who were not much faster than me and several of the other older students. There were also members of staff who read at three times the speed and managed to retain what they had read.
I mentioned this to the Senior Cat the other day. He was complaining that he had "slowed down". Yes, he has. I told him it didn't matter because he is still reading. He hasn't watched television for years now. I keep meaning to watch programs and so does he but somehow we never get around to it. There is always something we want to read and even need to read.
There is a nicely wrapped birthday parcel sitting next to the Senior Cat's favourite chair. It is from my cousin and his partner. I suspect his partner chose it because he shares the same love of books. It will have been chosen with care. I was quietly told it is another book I will need to read.
But what would a birthday be like without a book?

1 comment:

jeanfromcornwall said...

What indeed? I am very lucky - one daughter lives and works in Oxford, so can consult the shelves in Blackwells. The other has slightly less money to spare, but she has an eagle eye for just the right thing in charity shops - the old n more thaan interesting.