Friday, April 16, 2010

Books (sigh) how I love them.

I recently (and finally) finished a book. It might be the first I've finished this year. Ouch, right? The honorable selection: Katherine, a historical novel of medieval England written in 1954 by Anya Seton. (sidenote/rant: historical fiction written about medieval/royal England sometime before 1980 is generally decent, well-researched, well-written, and mostly devoid of the ridiculously sappy, poorly contrived and overly-sexed romance so prevalent in the contemporary versions. Pardon me; soapbox now vacated.)

I'm on to the next that (yes) I've been reading for.e.ver - The Book Thief. I know, I've mentioned my intention to get down to brass tacks and just read it. I think now I'm finally catching on though. And it's lovely. Here, let me show you:

Steadily, the room shrank, till the book thief could touch the shelves within a few small steps. She ran the back of her hand along the first shelf, listening to the shuffle of her fingernaild gliding across the spinal cord of each book. It sounded like an instrument, or the notes of running feet. She used both hands. She raced them. One shelf against the other. And she laughed. Her voice was sprawled out, high in her throat, and when she eventually stopped and stood in the middle of the room, she spent many minutes looking from the shelves to her fingers and back again.
How many books had she touched?
How many had she felt?
She walked over and did it again, this time much slower, with her hand facing forward, allowing the dough of her palm to feel the small hurdle of each book. It felt like maginc, like beauty, as bright lines of light shone down from a chandelier. Several times, she almost pulled a title from its place but didn't dare disturb them. They were too perfect.

Ahhhh... I know. Lovely. And so, gladly, every night sometime after midnight, I flick on the light, prop up my pillows, and read - sometimes slow and careful, sometimes gulping and swallowing faster than my eyes can keep up. And I like it. It's good to be back on the reading train.

Graham, you'll love it.

**Re: the image above. Artist Jane Mount has created a collection of illustrations based on the 'ideal' bookshelves of people she knows. They are generally grouped by theme (cooking, science fiction, politics) and are all perfectly wonderful. via design*sponge

1 comment:

  1. The Book Thief is a challenging book but I found it surprising on every page. I had no idea what was going to happen next. In the end a great book. Enjoy.