Today is World Book Day here in the UK. I can't imagine a world without books or indeed, my life without a book or two on my bedside table or on the coffee table just waiting to be read. If I love a book I can read it very quickly not wanting it to end but equally desperate to know the conclusion. Other books I can meander through, leave whilst I read another, and come back to, days later and carry on reading again. I like to read for an hour in the afternoon if I can, when the day's chores are done with time before I have to start to prepare an evening meal. I curl up in a comfy chair or stretch out on the bed, usually with a mug of tea and a cat on my lap and just enjoy the luxury of reading. I count myself very lucky to be able to do this. So what am I reading at the moment? Well, two books on the same subject and, as you know from previous posts, one of my literary heroes - William Shakespeare.
The first book, which I've nearly finished reading is by Bill Bryson. I've wanted to read 'Shakespeare' for some time and I haven't been disappointed. You don't get the 'laugh out loud' moments you get with some of Bill Bryson's books, but his gentle, witty and humerous way of writing and his easy way of explaining the historical background makes the book very readable and the sights, smells and language of Elizabethan and Jacobean England are almost within your grasp. The other book The Lodger by Charles Nicholl is waiting to be read. Based on research done by American academics Charles and Hulda Wallace, who in 1909, in the Public Records Office in London, came across a series of twenty six documents which made up a litigation roll from the Court of Requests detailing what is known as the Belott-Mountjoy dispute. These relate to a case from 1612 between Huguenot wigmaker Christopher Mountjoy and his son-in-law Stephen Belott. So where does Shakespeare come into this I hear you ask? Well, he was asked to give a statement, which he signed on 11th May 1612, because he had been a lodger in the house of Christopher Mountjoy in Cripplegate, London in 1604, the year the dispute first started. This house stood on the corner of Monkwell Street and Silver Street. Hence the full title of the book 'The Lodger, Shakespeare on Silver Street.'
I will finish reading 'Shakespeare' in the next couple of days but I'm going to sneak in one of John Harvey's 'Resnick' books before I walk down Silver Street.