This month’s 6 Degrees of Separation, hosted by Kate, starts with Stephen King’s It, a horror novel whose clown, I guess, is anything other than funny.

Heinrich Böll’s The Clown doesn’t play it for laughs either. There’s far too much male angst in it for me. So no surprises that I disliked it as much as Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye.

I hated that classic even in my early teens in stark contrast to Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, which immediately became and remains an all-time favourite. In fact, I credit her novel as being to one that turned me into a lifelong reader. In addition, the Folio Society edition became the first volume of my now 200+ Folio Society collection.

Talking of lifelong readers and book collections, I am a rank amateur in comparison to Alberto Manguel, whose book collection once reached the dizzying total of 30,000 volumes. He has since culled it, in order to move into a New York apartment, and I’m very much looking forward to his book about that process, to be published next year. For today though, let’s just concentrate on the pleasures of reading, which he describes in his book A Reader on Reading.

Of course, there’d be no books to read or collect without publishers, and the name of John Calder, is legendary in the publishing industry.  Pursuit is his book of uncensored memoirs.  At 648 pages, it’s also a bit of a chunkster!

Following this line of thought backwards from consumable to creation, publishers would have no business without writers practising their craft. And that brings us right back to Stephen King and his memoirs On Writing, which I haven’t read, but shall assume contains insights into on writing It.

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