There was a time in my life when I devoured books. Think two, even three in a week. Amazing, right?
How did I do it? Depression masking as uncontrolled respiratory disease made it easy. I could not go anywhere, except to the hospital, so you could say I had time.
Of course, I amassed a number of books, most of which I have lost by now, either because I misplaced it, forgot it during my move, or gave it away. There are still some here though, a mix of favorites and mehs, the mehs curiously outnumbering the memorable ones.
I went through this pile a couple of days ago, the remnants of a life before me, to find something to share with the sister of my sister’s boyfriend. What can I possibly give her? A young lady at the prime of her youth, bright, curious, and confused as we tend to be at this age. I run my hand through the spines of my old books and try to make decisions.
The Bell Jar? Too depressing.
The Descendants? Too close to home.
Sherlock Holmes? Hard to read.
Kafka on the Shore? Too meta.
Fifty Shades of Grey? No.
The Shack? Too Jesus-y.
The Notebook? Too sappy.
Atlas of the Human Anatomy? No.
Harrison’s Manual of Medicine? Why.
The Beautiful and the Damned? Interesting.
The Book Thief? Spectacular.
I could go down the rabbit hole but seeing that it was way past bedtime, I finally decided on The Fall of Giants, an epic historical fiction, and Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore, that she specifically asked for. I also wanted to send her The Tiger’s Wife and The Night Circus but I will wait after she finishes the first two so I do not swamp her.
It was unexpected fun, rediscovering what was left of my mountain of books and imagining what kind of mind I had back then, holding these pages, picking them up in a city far away, this version of me a shadow of who I am today.
Then, I enjoyed reading fiction; plenty of classics and historical fiction in between books that I randomly picked up because the title seemed interesting or the cover was pretty.
On the rare occasion that I read now, I choose non-fiction titles and children’s books. You will find The Art of War, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, and A Promised Land among Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Big Wolf and Little Wolf, and The Missing Piece Meets the Big O on my little shelf.
I am grateful for this opportunity that reminded me of books and the joys they bring me. Books are so much fun, and incredibly eloquent. Oh, the things they say about us.
What are some of your favorite books and how has your taste evolve through the years?