I've been reading "A Fine Balance" for quite some time now. I had mentioned to Justine a few months back that I was interested in reading it, so she filed away the info and happened to come across a copy of it at a used bookstore. It's a wonderful edition - hardcover, musty, covered in plastic, much like a library book. It's big and heavy and just the way a book should be, weighty, epic and worn. I love carrying it around with me - its immense presence makes a statement, emasculating all the 200 page paperbacks tucked into the bookshelf. It screams, "Look at me! I'm big! It will take you a really long time to get through me! Only the true of heart can hack it!"
As a side note, I recently had a party which, like any good party, got out of hand. Some random people I didn't know came to the party. I, of course, welcomed them into my home knowing nothing other than their first names. I gave them beer. I gave them a deck of cards, an ashtray and a seat at the table. I don't remember their names. Two of them started giving me shit for leaving my book out. They said I left it out to show people that I read big books, that I'm an intellectual show off who never reads big books but who wants people to believe I read big books.
I get where they're coming from because I know some people like that. But I'm not actually one of them. And I wasn't offended, either, namely because I was amused by their audacity and the fact that I had consumed about 3 bottles of Hungarias by that point.
But I digress.
I like savouring a story. When I was 16 I had to read "Gone with the Wind" during the summer and no one was more excited for my journey into Margaret Mitchell's world than my father. He dusted off his old copy - the same solid 5 kilo tomb I'm leafing through now. He told me to take my time, to get to know the characters, to take in the history, the suffering and the beauty. It took me just under 2 months of methodical reading and I just loved it. He was right.
I find myself going through the same process with AFB. These people, this time, the culture, have been part of my world and I am in hurry to breeze through my time with them.
I can see my father clearly with one of his library books. Pyjamas, bathrobe, slippers made from some sort of endangered animal, library book in hand. He would read in bed with his nightcap, usually something foul like Metaxa (to this day I believe my father is the only person on earth who ever drank that stuff) and slowly take in the story.
I think I'll do the same.
BRAIN WORK IS MESSY
7 hours ago