‘I need to get away.’

‘But there’s work to be done,’ says the book.

‘A holiday. That’s what I need.’

‘But there’s things to sort, ideas to sift, you can’t give up now. It was just getting good!’

‘You can protest all you like,’ I say, ‘but the truth is I’m shattered. Whether you like it or not, I’m going away for a few days.’

‘To work?’ says the book. ‘In that case I’m in!’

‘Absolutely not to work,’ I say. ‘To absolutely crash out if you want the truth.’

‘But there’s stuff to do,’ the book says again.

‘Look,’ I say. ‘By all means come on holiday, but you need to know we will not be working. Instead there’ll be walks and meals and conversation and reading. I need to refuel. If I don’t, there won’t be another book.’

The book shoots me a worried look. ‘Not even me?’

‘Not even you.’

‘But I can still come, though?’

‘You are always welcome,’ I say. ‘But as it says in The Little Prince, you must observe the rites.’

”Tame me,” says the book, kneeling down in front of me, its head lowered, hands outstretched on the floor.