I remember the first book I bought. I was 11, and my father was shocked that I should spend money on such a thing. He's an intelligent man, but not a book reader. He wondered why I wasn't getting one from the library. It never occurred to him that I might want to read it again—that I might want to own it.
These days I'm a pretty eclectic reader, and I usually have a few books on the go at once. Sometimes it's a necessity. For instance, I'm reading The Double Bond: Primo Levi—A Biography
, by Carole Angier. Double bond is a term in chemistry, which the author uses as a thematic emblem for her entire approach to Levi's life. But the combination of chemistry (I don't have a scientific part of my mind) plus Italian family trees and a psychological study—it's really quite taxing. So I'm also reading Annie Hawes's Extra Virgin
, an account of two girls from London who go to Italy. It's very jaunty, not too complicated. Read alongside each other, they make for a rather good balance.
What's on Kenneth Branagh's Bookshelf? Read more!