First lines…

I love Iain Banks – but I bought Complicity


months and months ago, but read the first page and decided I wasn’t into it and put it back on the shelf.

I picked it up again a couple of days ago, and looked at those first lines again, and still felt disinterested but shrugged and ploughed through it because I was on my daily commute, so the only other option I had for reading material was the Metro – which isn’t really an option if you actually like reading.



is a great book, classic Banks in its dark, disturbing, gritty Scottishness – I was thinking what a shame it was that those first few lines could have stopped me from reading it. I looked back to try and pin down what it was that put me off – but now I’ve read it, I don’t know what it was. (If you click on the link you can see the first few pages – maybe you can see what I couldn’t). Perhaps I got used to the tone of the novel, or I can view it in the context of the book as a whole, who knows.

There’s a saying about how you can never step in the same river twice, and perhaps you can never read the same book twice. How you read and interpret text is shaped by how you feel, your situation, even where you are – for example, the experience of reading reading Joe Sacco’s Safe Area Gorazde


and The Fixer


before and then again after I had visited Bosnia was like reading different books.

Perhaps it’s also why we can reread books we love time and time again, year after year, because at different stages in our lives, we can draw something new from them.

I think I need to keep this in mind, as I’m now struggling with the first chapter of Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things….


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