Sunday, August 26, 2007

Hot Fiction

Have you ever read a book so good the action seems to leap out of the page? Well with all my recent reads the pages have leapt out of the book. This has less to do with heart-stopping action, carefully-rounded characters or twisting plot than it has to do with the good old Saudi weather.

In short, it's so hot here you can't take a book to the pool without the intense heat melting the glue that holds the spine of the book together. This has happened to me with the last four books I've read. There I am, lying back with a cool drink by my side as I dry off from my last dip, losing myself in a good book (and I've read some good books lately), when, all of a sudden, a page loosens itself and does that zigzaggy float down to a soft landing on my not insignificant stomach. There is very little in life less irritating than that, believe me.

Has this ever happened to you, or is it just me? I must be doing something wrong because it hasn't happened to Karen and she's usually there next to me. Maybe I open my books in a funny way. Maybe I spend too long on each page. Maybe I don't fidget enough, causing the weakest part of the spine to be exposed to a particular ray of sunshine for too long.

I'm at a loss what to do. Reading by the pool is one of my main reasons for going, but I hate it when a book I really like starts coming apart in my hands. When, two-and-a-bit years ago, we found out we were going to be living in Riyadh for two years, I never once thought that this would be one of the principal hardships. Threat of terrorism, yes. Absence of cinemas, yes. Prohibition of alcohol, of course. But never disintegrating books.

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