Those nine unread books to last till March 2016 are now down to six

I told you of my visit to Camberley Library on its last day before a three month closure for building repairs. And how I borrowed an armful – nine in total – thinking they would last until the library re-opened at the end of February/early March 2016.

The 39 StepsWell, I finished reading another book. This one being The 39 Steps by John Buchan. It’s a short read at 250 pages in the Vintage Buchan edition with an introduction by Stella Rimington.

It’s a fast paced adventure story about a man on the run from both the police and a gang of sinister German spies. Buchan’s sparse prose and evocation of the joys of the Scottish landscape make it an easy and enjoyable read. It’s what you would call a real ‘page-turner’, especially as it’s not so long that it can’t be devoured in a couple of evenings bedtime reading.

Written in 1915 at a time of national concern about invasion and concern about war, there are a couple of characterisations that jar in today’s more liberal attitudes. Reading the book, you’ll find them.

I’ve seen two film versions of the story. Both follow the adaption by Alfred Hitchcock, which enhances the story no end. Much like the film reviewers I prefer the 1935 Robert Donat film version in black and white, over the later 1959 film version Kenneth More film in colour. However, both are great films.

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