Friday, 9 September 2011

Different strokes

*Warning!  Contains 'The Stranger's Child' and 'Nemesis' spoilers (only sort of - but you can't be too careful).*

My reading preferences (and listening preferences, and viewing preferences...) sometimes collide with those of my husband, but generally we tread quite different paths and are quite happy doing so.  Now and again this is thrown into sharp relief, and no more so than last night as we both climbed into bed and reached for brand new books from our bedside tables (this makes us sound old, old, old - why, why, why?).  Mine was Alan Hollinghurst's 'The Stranger's Child', his was Jo Nesbo's 'Nemesis'.  We were both chuffed with our choices and eager to tuck in.  It's true, they could have been more different, but nonetheless we played a game that was just hilarious.  Really, you've got to try it.  I think we'll call it 'the compare-the-opening-sentence-of-each-chapter-in-the-book-you're-reading-with-the-ones-in-the-book-that-someone-else-is-reading game.'  

It went like this...

My chapter 1: She'd been lying in the hammock reading poetry for over an hour.
His chapter 1: I'm going to die.

My chapter 2: While the maid was removing the tea-things, Freda Sawle stood up and wandered between the small tables and numerous little armchairs to the open window.
His chapter 2: The old man reminded Harry of an astronaut.

My chapter 3: Up in the spare bedroom, Jonah settled the first suitcase on the bed, and ran his hands over the smooth hard leather.
His chapter 3: 'Seen the video?'

My chapter 4: Hubert forwent his bath that evening, and had what he felt was an unsatisfactory wash in his room.
His chapter 4: 'Snow?'

Hilarity, as you might imagine, ensued.  Once recovered, we settled down to the business of reading - both lost in completely different worlds, but still hunkered convivially side-by-side. Me wondering perhaps a little bit why the old man reminded Harry of an astronaut, and Bobby not in the least bit curious about Hubert's bathroom habits.