Friday, 10 October 2008

End of a Book

A book. Not like a newspaper, which is disposable, throw away, fleeting and dates (wouldn't think of reading a two day old paper, although it comes back into its own as history later).

With a book there is a relationship. You carry it round with you. The words wrapped in its jacket. Holding it as you read, touching the pages as you turn them (with newspapers you want to touch them as little as possible - holding the edges so the print doesn't rub off on your fingers).

So you carry the book round (and from a personal point of view I try to keep it neat, protect it, not let it get too scuffed up from bag battery) and read it in fits and starts, on the tube, bus, lunch hour and snatched five minutes after arriving at work becuase the paragraph isn't quite finished. Absorbed into its described world. When its a good read you're conflicted - rushing to get to the end but wishing it would last forever, the story drawing you further and further until you turn the last page, read the last paragraph, the last sentence, the last line and finally the last word.

At which point you are thrown out of the world your mind has been inhabiting back into the reality of your own world. All grey, inky, cold, wet and responsible. Its like a breakup - suddenly there's a hole that was once filled by the writer's voice. You don't want to fill it with someone else's straight away, you need to recover and not to rebound. Its emotional.

I will carry it home later and put in on the shelf where it will remind me of itself when my eye casually lands on it in passing. The book I'm breaking up with today? Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (yes I know I know - old book, ought to have read it already - its been sitting in my to read pile for a number of years)

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