Neither a Borrower

It is hard being a British librarian. One has to lend, as often as not, mediocre rubbish to semi-literate readers who prefer pap to Pope. The year's most borrowed listings are out, and reveal a top 100 riddled with pulp fiction too bland even to deserve that B-side accolade. The top poetry book? Well it comes from faux-genius S. Fry, who is neither a poet or a critic, but a celebrity whose main message is to argue against vers libre, 100 years too late. In fiction, it is an American crime writer who has a Fordist production line to pump out his books so cheap they should be recalled as unsafe at any speed of reading. Literacy is so often extolled as a virtue that we often forget that reading badly can also mean reading unwisely. At least they only borrow bad books and not buy them.

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