Having a threesome

For the last few days, I’ve been courting two lovelies. One a child of Alistair MacLean and the other of John le Carre. All right, I am talking about books. “A Perfect Spy” by le Carre and “Where Eight Bells Toll” by Alistair MacLean.

Admittedly, both are potboilers and spy novels in the best manner of the cold war mould or thereabouts. This post, though, is not about the contents of the books. They are above average in their genre. Entertaining. That’s about it.

My question is about reading two books simultaneously. I recall an ex superboss who did it. He was considered “a great mind”. Still is (considered). I have no such certification. And unfortunately, reading two books at a time doesn’t make me eligible for it. 

So while I await my greatness certification in another manner, let me share some experiences of reading two books simultaneously.

Characters seem to find their way in and out of novels. So Mr Philip Calvert who is a spy and has hitherto nothing to do with the disappearance of Mr Magnus Pym is now a prime suspect. Incidentally, both are British spies. And one has a wife. Right now, I can’t recall which one.

It’s an interesting experience. Le Carre is a slow, plot-building kind of writer. Pages upon pages are spent creating the characters and giving their life a background or their current actions a purpose. In the case of MacLean, it’s pretty much like reading a screenplay. Things are always happening. The descriptions are elaborate. So much so, that I have an image of the west coast of Britain around Torbay ready in my head. I can’t get lost there if I ever visit!

The most challenging part of doing this – so far – has been keeping a track of which book I am reading. It may work better if I read two books from different genres. Maybe. But in my current case, there is much scope for confusion and mixing up. MacLean’s novel should be over soon… just abour 300 pages in all. Le Carre’s will take some time. About 700 pages, that tome has!

I do recommend this threesome to those who have time to spare daily to manage two books. The trick is to have one book in one location and one in another. You figure where!

Next on the agenda: A foursome!

Comments

comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *