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Gilead & The Turn of The Page

October 11th, 2009

I finished last night’s book in that single sitting, something I attribute to the setting. I don’t think I need to go into too much detail about reading A Movable Feast and how much pleasure it gave me. I sat in the front room and for five hours lived in Paris and experienced what Hemingway was experiencing. Not to mention F. Scott Fitzgerald. I may be in Paris, for real, a week from today. We’ll see.

Part of the fun was that I was reading an actual book, with pages and a cover and everything. I wasn’t reading the Kindle. There is a stark difference, maybe not too stark as I didn’t fully recognize it before (although I’ve spoken of “the feeling” before), but when you are reading a bound book you always have a sense of physical depth. You know without even looking how far you are into the book. You know how much you have left to read, and you know in rough approximation what should be happening so that the book ends nice and tidy. Of course, this was a memoir so the ending wasn’t one of resolution. But that is something, one of many things, that you miss when you read from the Kindle.

I love the turning of the page, the imperceptible thinning of the book you hold on the right side and growth of the book on the left. You turn the page and the thickness in your hands doesn’t seem to change, though you know it has. The weight of the book shifts a hundredth of an ounce at a time until you’ve moved the entire book without a thought of it.

I woke up this morning with nothing but my Kindle and nothing to read. When I don’t have something to read I get anxious, and I had no desire to read from my Kindle. So I went down to my library and tried to see something that I may have overlooked and had put aside for a different time. Not all books are meant for all times.

I came across a book that I’ve had for a few years but have never opened. It even had a book plate in it with my name in what appears to be my sister’s handwriting. I don’t recall when I received the book, Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. It was awarded the Pulitzer in 2004 so I received it around that time and in hardcover. It’s a first edition but I don’t know if that means anything since I imagine after the award several thousand more were sent to press.

I’m well into the book now, reading it in bits and pieces throughout today as I go about being a Dad, and I’ve meant to email my sister to thank her for the book (as upon further thought I only have one sister that gives books such as this).

While I feel I can write reasonably well I’m not a prolific emailer. In fact, I loathe email, the informal nature and the instant regret I feel when sending something that wasn’t properly thought out. And of course you can’t be too formal in an email, it throws the conversational nature of the medium off-kilter. So without being able to be formal, and a distaste for correspondence that is loose-tongued, I’m stuck, and emails seem to fly around with me tagging along as a CC participant and while I rarely jump in, I do enjoy reading them. So Sis, thanks for the book, and for your ability to write great emails that everyone enjoys.

Now begins Gilead, book #43.


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