An afternoon in Blackwell’s

Blackwell’s Bookshop in Oxford never ceases to amaze with the sheer range of titles on display. (On sale as well, but it’s the display that’s extraordinary.) But even here we have the two-for-the-price- of-one offer, just like WH Smith’s or any supermarket. For me the trouble is that I don’t usually want two but, more than that, a seed of doubt has been sown in my mind about the value I’ll be getting when I just buy one. One of its own is poor value, so I buy neither the one nor the two. Happily it is often a characteristic of the two for one that they’re products I don’t want. But if I might have wanted them, I don’t now.

If I want a good new novel, I want a novel that is singular in every sense, not a reading programme. The second novel should I buy may rot on my shelves as the second M&S or Tesco packet of sausages will rot in my fridge.  True, come a rainy day or an empty larder I may well consume that second novel or sausage packet but it will only because there’s nothing else, and existing on nothing else is not the way I wish to live my life.

I hear someone call out ‘value’ but I will be my own judge on what is value.

One step at a time is the way to go. Try and take two steps at a time… well, that’s just foolish.

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