Book Promiscuity


I have a letter published as ‘star letter’ in the August 2018 issue of UK magazine Top Sante, My prize is £116.90 worth of OSMO Berber Oil hair products. As I rarely spend more than £5 on shampoo and conditioner, and only use other hair products when they are supplied and applied at a salon, my scalp is tingling with excitement. It isn’t really, but I am. Merci beaucoup Top Sante.

My letter referred to travel sickness and French cuisine articles published in the magazine’s July 2018 issue. The articles were timely because we were due to embark on a 20-hour Scotland to France drive, via England to collect my parents. As I rarely go a day without reading, I spent the majority of the drive in the passenger seat (Eddie drove the whole way) reading Min Jin Lee’s Free Food For Millionaires with the window open, concentrating hard on disappearing from the Earth into a parallel universe where motion sickness is nonexistent.

I had hoped that the magazine’s natural remedy tips would alleviate my travel sickness. They didn’t. The best cure for reading-in-a-moving-car related nausea, according to Professor Timothy C. Hain and Scientist Charles M. Oman, is to not read in a moving car:

Consider the situation when one is reading in a car. Your eyes, fixed on the book with the peripheral vision seeing the interior of the car, say that you are still. But as the car goes over bumps, turns, or changes its velocity, your ears disagree. This is why motion sickness is common in this situation. If you have this sort of reaction it is usually helpful to stop reading and look out the window.


My friend Connie is bemused that I rarely read my borrowed library books, and that I typically have several books on the go at once, print and digital. I usually read a book, get halfway through, and then put it down in favour of another book.

Connie: “You’re a promiscuous reader, a book abandoner, the book version of a womaniser. There’s a name for people like you.”

Me, laughing: ”Books are my vice. I like reading too much. I can’t say no.”

Speaking of book promiscuity, I am 14 days into a 30 day trial with digital reading app Scribd. I am considering paying the $8.99 monthly fee because I want to keep my translated fiction, editing and proofreading downloads, such as McGraw Hill’s Desk Reference For Writers, Editors and Proofreaders, which retails for $23.95.

The feel and smell of a book contributes to my reading experience. I prefer the smell of new books to library sleeve plastic. When I pick up a library book, it is usually to return it unread, as evidenced today when I returned Lucia Berlin’s A Manual For Cleaning Women. Connie laughed when she saw the title, unaware that it was a short story collection: “A Manual For Cleaning Women? And there was me thinking that you were already a domestic Goddess Helen!” Me: “Um, no! Maybe in a parallel universe …  I inherited my mother’s dodgy eyesight, but I definitely didn’t inherit her efficiency, speed and thoroughness with a mop.”

About Helen Grant (4 Articles)
I am reading my way around the world, one book at a time, via translated fiction, my portal to other cultures. I live in a small town in the Scottish Highlands with my husband, children and dog.

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