As I tossed another book (adult crime, since you ask) aside, and recycled the press release, I congratulated myself on how easy it was to decide not to even pretend to be interested in reading the book. No sense of guilt at all.

That’s because it was an unsolicited crime novel from a publicist I don’t know, and who has clearly inherited my name and address from someone. They must also have enough of a budget for doing this with little or no checking up on any resulting reviews.

(The book might be great, for all I know. If space was not an issue, I’d possibly stack it up for my future house arrest days. But I don’t suppose I can hope to live through that many years under house arrest, seeing I’m no longer a spring chicken.)

But the word guilt triggered, well, guilt. Because the rest of the time I feel it in respect of books I’d like to read, authors I know and like, and publicists I might have made promises to.

And I have a family who are so dutiful in their general behaviour that guilt is right there, often on a daily basis. It’s hard to banish, even when you know life’s too short, and all that. Plus the fact that guilt should be saved for graver situations.

So it was quite nice to have that fleeting insouciant no-guilt-here moment.

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