I was going to sit down and write this blog last Sunday–that's not yesterday, but the Sunday before–but I made the mistake of sitting down to read a chapter or two of a novel. It was Ross Poldark, the first of Winston Graham's bestselling series set in Cornwall that's now all the rage again thanks to Aidan Turner. After the first two chapters, I thought I'd just read the next one, then the next and before I knew it, it was time to draw the curtains and put the lights on. The following day, I was going to catch up on all the things I hadn't done while I was reading, but I had a few minutes to spare–too long to do nothing, but not long enough to do anything–so I picked up the book again. I was so close to the end I had to finish it. I first read the Poldark novels after the original BBC series and I was fascinated by how my memory of them had become blurred with the television version. I fully intended reading the next book, Demelza Poldark, after I'd got on with my neglected work.
    Neither intention has been fulfilled. On Tuesday, an acquaintance who used to write arrived with what looked like half the contents of her flat in her car. She had sorted out all the books she no longer wanted, including novels, poetry and reference books, plus all her research material comprising souvenir books, postcards, leaflets, sheafs of photocopying and notebooks, and brought them all to me thinking they might inspire me. She insists she's given up writing, but I'm uneasy that she'll get withdrawal symptoms and regret discarding everything. Nevertheless, I can't keep it all, and I spent the rest of the day sorting out what was what. I still have piles of books masquerading as side-tables, waiting to tip from the top of cupboards onto anyone who opens the doors too quickly and lining the floors of wardrobes. The faster I can put them all in a box marked 'Charity Shop', the happier my other half will be, so I feel justified in spending much of the past week reading one novel after another. So far, Ghost by Robert Harris, Dead Man's Ransom by Ellis Peters and The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier have gone the way of Ross Poldark. It's a start.
    The question is, what next? Should I choose Oscar Wilde or Alan Bennett, D. H. Lawrence or Rudyard Kipling? I have a horrible feeling that by the time I write the next blog, the characters and plots will have recombined in my memory and I won't know which belong where, and there's only one cure for that–reading them all again!