MacLeish, on reading

In the evenings, if there was nothing worth watching on the TV – a conclusion he came to all too frequently – he liked to read. As a boy in Inverness he had worked his way through large swathes of the public library; but the library in Lambden had shut not long after the diaspora began following the pit closure; and there was no bookshop in the town. The Headmaster, however, let him borrow books from the school library, modest though it was, in return for the hours he devoted gratis to supporting the school. He liked the classics: Dickens, in particular; and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; and Sir Walter Scott, of course. Miss Walker, the school librarian, had tried to entice him to read more contemporary literature but while he preferred to keep his opinions to himself rather than offend her, he found those modern books of hers vague and difficult to follow. Nevertheless, he still looked forward to his visits to the school library for there was something voluptuous and subtly sensual about turning the pages of a physical book that the convenience of the eBook could not provide. But apart from the interviews conducted after Laura Davy’s murder, he hadn’t visited the school since the killing spree began.

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