In the High Peaks

Monday, October 18, 2010

Ian Rankin & Edinburgh!

I'm closing in on the last 60 pages of The Small Room by May Sarton. I'm loving it; in fact, amazed by it, perhaps because I'm especially in tune with the "crisis in academe" theme.

After teaching today, I drove to Crandall Library and picked up a copy of Let it Bleed by Ian Rankin, one of the "John Rebus mysteries," published in the US in 1996. Katrina of Pining for the West will be reading and discussing it with me. Because she is a true Scot and lives close to Edinburgh, I'm hoping she'll be able to clue me in on the "Scottish dimension", explaining things, perhaps, that I have no clue about. All (most?) of Rankin's "John Rebus mysteries" are set in and around Edinburgh. I have only visited the city once, when I was nineteen, and was immediately entranced.

But I have a problem with the copy of Let It Bleed that I've borrowed. It's obvious that thousands of people have read it. The binding is, miraculously, intact, to its credit, but the jaundiced pages (you're cheap, Simon & Schuster!), the coffee and chocolate stains (I hope that's all they are), and the wrinkles from bathwater or beach-bathing or cooking spaghetti are all together too much! I don't mind a well-read book, but this copy I may choose to abandon back to the Crandall morgue.

A few minutes ago I thought I might buy a copy, but I'm not. No Kindle copy is available, so I'm going to wade through the water-laden pages of the library copy. Much ado about nothing, I suppose, but the aesthetics of reading are very important to me and they have been offended.


  1. Judith,
    I've finished The Small Room! Very enjoyable and I'm hoping to read more of her books. Can you recommend another one?
    I'm completely against the death penalty, except for people who abuse books. How horrible that your copy of Let it Bleed sounds like it's got the plague! I'm starting on mine tonight.

  2. Judith,
    On second thoughts, if the book is too ghastly try to get any Rankin which is readable and let me know what you get. I'm sure I'll be able to get any of them easily.

  3. Katrina, I'm glad you liked The Small Room. I'm almost finished with it. I loved the way she characterized all the faculty members so well. The philosophical conversations were a joy as well!


  4. I'm going to the library after work to pick up a book on hold and they should have a copy of the Rankin. I fear it is going to be in much the same condition yours is in. This is why I like getting the newly arrived books--no one else has had a chance to handle them and there is no ick factor.