Bridge trumps reading resolution - for now

An addiction to bridge has derailed a good intention to read a new book every week.

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My resolution to read one new book a week has started to unravel. Book one, Liar's Poker, remains at the halfway point; my bookmark having made itself at home between pages 106 and 107. That's not to say it isn't a great read - because it really is - but my hectic social life (trying to perfect my bridge game) has commandeered all of my free time, forcing me to sacrifice the simple pleasure of reading a great story, uninterrupted, for hours on end.

There is nothing better, I think, than starting a book, whether it's opening up a crisp new novel, or returning to a weathered old friend for the umpteenth time. In fact, although some other people may not understand it, I find equal joy in reading the same book over and over again (Good Omens, for instance, the fantasy novel by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, which I read once a year without fail) as I do in chancing upon something new. After all, would you listen to a favourite piece of music only once? Change the pictures on your wall every day?

The first time I read The Great Gatsby resulted in my being tremendously late for work the following day, my inability to put the book down having caused me to sleep right the way through my morning wake-up call. Sometimes, sleep has to come second.

Having waited in line with a group of friends for the midnight release of the last Harry Potter book in the summer of 2007, I think it's fair to say that there were at least tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people who got little shut-eye that night.

My mother, an English teacher, may turn up her nose at what she considers to be "very simply written prose", but I disagree. How can you look down on something that captured the imaginations of so many people, of so many ages; that got so many people into the idea of reading? Sure, the same logic could be applied to Dan Brown and his multi-million-selling works, or to Marian Keyes and her vacuous collection of chick-lit novels - but, this being my column today, it won't.

As for book number two on my list? I figured I would go for something easy-going: Moby-Dick by Herman Melville.

If I'm not around next week you'll know I've been swallowed by the whale.