Isn't it fab when someone enthuses so communicatively and un-boringly about a challenging pet topic (mountaineering, python-taming, extreme ironing) that you feel you could jolly well give said activity a go yourself?
Such was the can-do spirit instilled in me recently after listening to my friend JD talking with great warmth about the pleasure and solace he'd gained from reading a celebrated series of seven lengthy novels.
Far from being a slog, this literary marathon soon became a pleasure trip, engrossing, enthralling and utterly absorbing. I gained the impression that my friend would greet the discovery a further seven volumes with robust hurrahs.
JD read the books in translation from the original French.
And it's at this point that I'll make my admissions.
I know two other people, good friends, who've read these books - and both are fluent enough in French to have read them in the original.
I've also confided to both of them that, long ago, I'd actually set out from base camp and started novel number one...
Both made the same response, asking: 'In the original..?'
To which I replied in the negative - and with strong sense that, even had I got through all seven, my achievement would, in their view, be ever-so-slighty not up to snuff.
To be fair, my reaction probably said more about a sense of inferiority on my part, rather than any snootiness on theirs - but, whatever, I was discouraged.
So, I'm determined to allez-y and set out again. JD's winsome bigging-up of these books has made me hungry.
The books in question? The picture offers a teensy clue...