Parade’s End came eight days ago. It was my first Book Depository purchase. In fact, it was my first online purchase.
Shopping online has, of course, nothing of the sensation I get when I’m browsing through bookshop shelves. It doesn’t matter – not every book has to be bought the same way. What matters is that overwhelming feeling of having THE book in my hands and anticipating its pleasures. I was extraordinarily happy upon receiving Parade – after all, the book was something I yearned for a couple of years now. It was certain I would dive into it the minute circumstances allow me (Van Gogh’s letters had to be put on hold, again) as it is certain I will be re-reading it soon, shortly after I finish it; only with more reflection and at a slower pace. This is not to say I am not reading it slowly at the moment because I am, I am enjoying it.. but I want more – I wish to savor it.
It came, as I said, a week ago and I could not be parted from it ever since. It is constantly there, on my mind, in my being, no matter what I do or where and with whom I am. I am all into it. Living it and loving it, I should say. It had not happened since I don’t know.. Woolf’s Orlando? Byatt’s Possession? Oh, I don’t have patience enough to bring myself to remembering which book was it the last time…
Finishing a chapter and gazing at the next inviting page I thought how wonderfully isolated I was. I had to bring myself out as if out of hypnosis, to become aware of the children playing on a trampoline in my neighbor’s yard or to hear mother watching television on a floor below… Just moments ago there was nothing. Nothing but Valentine trying to answer the phone while people are cheering on the streets – the war is over.. Astonishing how a book, how reading a book magically vanquishes one’s physical surroundings. Sometimes it happens with the first sentence and I am not aware of it but mostly (and especially when I’m reading outside) I can feel a sort of a glass-like sphere closing slowly around me. Turning down the volume of one world so I can pull the other one out of the pages.