Wednesday, July 19, 2006
An Odd Recreation
Maybe I'm just dull. I don't know.
Many people consider reading to be a great pleasure; I am one of those. Reading, to me, is more than the making sense of individual characters grouped together. Reading is a process from the moment I am ready to begin a new book to the selection of that book to the first opening...all the way through the long...often tedious...journey in the pages; finally to the last wordings of the final chapter and the placement of the book (which for sometime has decorated my living room shelf) in the honorable stack of "finished" reads.
So let's step back. Perhaps I have just finished a book or perhaps I have taken a sabbatical from my reading to get home things done. Whatever the case, I am now at a place to make that decision to start a new book. Thrilling. But what book will I choose? Here begins one of my favorite steps in the book process.
I believe the selection of new reading material could be listed among my top recreational activities. I walk into the used book store (hopefully with a coffee from the Starbucks across the street in my hand), glance around at my fellow book store patrons, give a smiling nod to the familiar faces at the counter, and head back to the far wall where the literature section begins.
I am not so ritualistic in where I begin my perusing. Often it is in the "A" section, but just as often I begin somewhere in the middle...perhaps as my attention has been drawn to a nice looking old hardback. None-the-matter, my choice is made not by bee-lining to a particular author but by gliding my eyes past the many authors..waiting for something to catch my eye...something perhaps I have heard of or "always wanted to read".
As the browsing goes, I pass by old favorites...tempted by a "better edition" than I have: wanting to replace my paperback copy of Anna Kerinina for a beautiful hardback. No...I have read that one too many times...so I pass it by. Dickens...sounds good...you can't go wrong with Dickens. But...darn...then don't have a hard back of the one I want. I guess I will have to move on. Dostoevsky is tempting but I have really got to get out of Russian literature. I need to expand. I'll keep that one in mind though...just in case there isn't anything else.
I wander back and forth in no meaningful way until that one book jumps out: the hardback old version of a novel I have wanted to conquer. I take it triumphantly in my hand, unable to contain a smile while I pay.