Mrs Short Tony hands over a thick paperback. It transpires that the LTLP has been lured in to joining the Village Women’s Book Group.
I am pleased about this. The LTLP does not get out much, as she is always tired and stressed after her hard day at work. It will be nice for her to have another interest. I sometimes worry that her quite internationally-important and high-level professional role comes at the expense of the social life that she would want.
“When is the next meeting?” I ask.
I look at her crossly. We are meant to be playing a snooker match on Thursday and this means that I will have to drop out. It is annoying. I have been busting my guts out at home looking after the house and talking to the cleaner and making plans for the chickens whilst the LTLP pisses around with her mates in an office. I take the book and promise to pass it on.
I do not speak to the LTLP for several days, whilst she glues herself to the book. This happened with the last book she read, which was the ‘da Vinci Code’. At one point I try suggesting that she reads a few more books a bit more regularly but a bit less intently, but she tells me to shut up and make her tea and that she might take me up on that, but for men. I stomp off.
It is clear from the odd glance over her shoulder that it is a dreadful book, which has been tightly plotted by a genius and then written by a jobbing spider monkey. The descriptions are all horribly obvious, and the dialogue plumbs the depths of clunkiness.
“There is such clunky dialogue in this book that you are currently reading, which has been selected as this month’s choice for the Village Women’s Book Group,” I complain. But she is lost in her own world.
I am a literary snob. I would not expect Mrs Short Tony, Mrs Eddie, Mrs Len the Fish, Mrs Martin the IT Consultant etc. to go for Shakespeare or whatever, as he was famously no good at giving female characters identities in their own right. I should not be so judgmental. She enjoyed it, and will enjoy the literary and cultural discussion around it, and that’s what counts.
The LTLP arrives home late on Thursday evening, really pissed.