Monday, 1 August 2011
Essay: Alan Bennett on the libraries of this youth (and funding cuts)
‘Books Do Furnish a Room’, wrote Anthony Powell, but my mother never thought so and she’d always put them out of the way in the sideboard when you weren’t looking. Books untidy, books upset, more her view. Though once a keen reader herself, particularly when she was younger, she always thought of library books as grubby and with a potential for infection – not intellectual infection either. Lurking among the municipally owned pages might be the germs of TB or scarlet fever, so one must never be seen to peer at a library book too closely or lick your finger before turning over still less read such a book in bed.