In truth, I'd read Alan Bennett on pretty much anything, but when the subject is libraries, who can resist?
There were other perils to reading, but it was only when I hit middle age that I became aware of them. Me, I’m Afraid of Virginia Woolf was a television play written in 1978 and though it doesn’t contain my usual scene of someone baffled at a bookcase the sense of being outfaced by books is a good description of what the play is about. ‘Hopkins,’ I wrote of the middle-aged lecturer who is the hero, ‘Hopkins was never without a book. It wasn’t that he was particularly fond of reading; he just liked to have somewhere to look. A book makes you safe. Shows you’re not out to pick anybody up. Try it on. With a book you’re harmless. Though Hopkins was harmless without a book.’ Books as badges, books as shields; one doesn’t think of libraries as perilous places where you can come to harm. Still, they do carry their own risks.