I listened to the radio with astonishment earlier this week as a teacher told a Today presenter that, contrary to what cynics like to think, children studying English in England and Wales do indeed have "whole books" on the syllabus.
When I read that Alexander McCall Smith had bought a small chain of islands off Coll, I looked them up online.
As often happens when I'm away from home, the flat has been "tidied" by my fellow incumbent.
Signposts near the Border south of Coldstream point to the site, their crossed swords the tourist equivalent of a skull and crossbones.
Gore Vidal's writing routine was simple: "First coffee, then a bowel movement, then the Muse joins me." Not for him the agonies of staring at a blank page and wondering how to fill it.
Reading Robert Peston's description of typing up his wife's last book, shortly after her death, the words blurred on the page.
It's hard to think back to a time when book festivals were as unheard of as mobile phones or laptops.
I read an old novel recently, which has left me wishing I had chosen something else.