Dog-eared pages, paragraphs high-lighted with a yellow marker, notes, and comments scribbled on the side in a handwriting only I can decipher. Some of them I might never open again, others will be enjoyed by my friends who only get the good ones I want to share, the bad ones I keep for myself.
The good ones show wear and tear, the others can still be found in almost pristine condition lingering on the shelf for years, until one day the donation bag needs to be filled again, and somewhere, someone with a different taste will declare the unwanted ones I got rid off, a bestseller in their home.
Books have been a part of my life from an early age on. I have a Kindle and I listen to audiobooks, yet nothing will ever replace my need for feeling a real book in my hands. The smell of the paper, the dust cover, which I take off and carefully place on the side table until I am done. The excitement I feel when I open a book for the first time.
I read a lot, it even had been part of my job for many years. I try to sense the mood of the writer and hope to understand the characters as well as the story. How does the author sound? Is the writing style engaging or over the top? Is the writer trying too hard to stand out by complicating the sentences to the point it interrupts the flow? Is the style one I can accept and fall in love with, or perhaps rather a turnoff?
So many books in my lifetime, in so many languages. Translations, originals, some even worked on by me. You would think not much can be found in books that I haven’t heard of or read before, but that’s not true. Authors and writers surprise me every day.
So much I still don’t know, so many things I overlooked or never thought about. The obvious, I just never noticed until someone pointed them out.
Wonderful stories, told by the ones who lived through them, others create tales in their mind and place pictures of what they see in my head when I try to recreate the same atmosphere they saw in their fantasy.
The authors, the teachers, the writers, the storytellers, are all my friends until page fifty, that’s when I decide if I want to continue the journey. My time is precious and limited, I have none to waste.
Many survive my brutal cut and in the end, I hold them tight against my chest and give them a last embrace before I put them away. The longer the hug, the better the book, and when I lay it down, I often sigh or smile.
We learn, laugh and cry. We sigh and frown. We feel anger and joy. For a short time, we slip into the lives of others. We relive their past, explore the present, or travel to the future. No matter where the pages will take us, we will gladly follow.
The end often comes too quickly, we wish for more.
Then there is panic. Will I find another one as good as this?
I always do!
And it all starts again! The rhythm of reading!