So, I love reading. I get anxious when I’m stuck somewhere with nothing to read. Many of you may be thinking, “Doesn’t she always have her phone? You know, like a normal person.”
The answer is yes. Yes I do. But the problem is this. I want paper. I want it in my hands. I want to scan the entire page, slide my finger down to the bottom, tilt my head and slowly turn the page. I want to hold the book to my chest when I read something magical, moving or masterly. Sigh.
“There is no scent so pleasant to my nostrils as that faint, subtle reek which comes from an ancient book.” – Arthur Conan Doyle
So what’s a girl to do when she’s going on a trip in which she’s bringing only a carry-on bag? What’s she to do when her moods are shifty like squirels crossing the street and she has no idea what she’ll be in the mood to read even 10 minutes from now? What’s she to do when at any given time she has bookmarks in 7 different books that she rotates based on said moods? What’s she to do when her only system for figuring out what to read is to quietly and thoughtfully feel the energy between her and the bookshelves until a particular book, the right one, shows itself and speaks to her?
In other words, how am I supposed to decide which ONE of my books I’m supposed to bring with me on two 24 hour plane rides? It’s a damn near mission impossible.
So, I decided to go the practical, safe route. I am choosing The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I have been meaning to read this book for two moons now and hadn’t been able to get my hands on it.
I know, I know, it’s at every Barnes and Noble bookstore. But I hate buying books at full price. It’s not that I don’t find them valuable enough. I do. Books are paper jewels. I’m just thrifty, and the used bookstore in my area (Big Apple Books) has a $2 book sale at least once a month; and otherwise, their books are $4. Some people, apparently, don’t keep their books after they read them. Quite shocking, but I’m eternally grateful. But alas! The Alchemist kept getting swept up by other patrons over and over again before I could get my sticky fingers on it. Finally, I had to admit defeat. I bought the book fully priced. I must admit, I like the freshness of it; the untouched pages waiting for me to break them apart.
You see old or new, books have a certain enchanting quality. A goodness. A charity. A two way street type of relationship. There’s a connection to be had before the first page is read. E-books? Humbug. So, I decide on The Alchemist.
Although I love a good book review, I actually haven’t read any on this book. Literary friends and colleagues and the used bookstore owner are all I have to go by. And the awards, of course. For some strange new reason, I don’t want to know. I want to be taken by complete surprise, like walking into a room blindfolded. I want to open my eyes and blink at the light and slowly decipher what’s around me, where I am, what the mood is. I want to walk into this book blindfolded.
My excitement is building, and I’m actually somewhat looking forward to the flight, long as it is, so that I may have uninterrupted time to read.
How about you, Fellow Traveler, Dear Reader? Have you ever had to decide on one book when you love many? How did you settle on the one you’d bring? Which book was it, and were you happy with your choice, or were you left crying on a plane, train or automobile?
I’d love to hear from you!