An author at the library

Penny Vincenzi, who has shot straight to the top of the UK paperback charts with her latest book, An Absolute Scandal, is one of those authors whose latest book I invariably read (via the library) at a time in my life when I read anything and everything, from Aeschylus (yes, honestly) to Waugh (Hillary and Evelyn) and all points inbetween. Then I stopped reading her. I can't remember why, now, but it was probably because I was too busy writing my thesis to read novels and then forgot, or maybe I just drifted away. Now, it is too late to pick her up again I think, because I am probably too "out of sympathy" with the genre – and I already have three lifetimes of books to read in my literal, electronic and metaphorical queues.
But I did smile to receive a link to a lovely article in the Independent (careers section) from the indefatigable Dave Lull today (the man who keeps the Internet going, single handed), about how Penny Vincenzi's first job was as a librarian — and not just any librarian, but a Harrod's librarian. "There were far more private lending libraries then," she explains. "Boots had one. At Harrods, you got a book straight away; you just rang up and ordered it and it was delivered that afternoon, sometimes by horse-drawn van". The article continues: "Penny handled readers whose names began with the letter S. "Sir Malcolm Sargent was an absolute sweetheart, very polite." The famous conductor was unusual: "Most of them were absolutely horrible. We were minions." "