Thursday, August 26, 2010

Book Worm

"She had always wanted words, she loved them; grew up on them. Words gave her clarity, brought reason, shape."  - Michael Ondaatje (The English Patient)

If you hadn't already read so, I'm a bit of a reader. I wish I read more for pleasure now than I do, but schoolwork and work-work take up a lot of my time. Nevertheless, I still read and re-read books all the time. I love to pick up a book that I've already read and added to my library, and open it to a certain section or quote and pick apart every subtlety. Reading is so cathartic for me, but in the weirdest ways.... Every time I read something that sticks with me, I obsess over every part of it. The diction, the semantics, the way it rattles around in my head as I read to myself. I love it.

I could never pick a favorite book. Doing so would seem so blasphemous to all the authors I love. However, To this day, my favorite quote from any book I have ever read is by Michael Ondaatje, author of The English Patient, among other masterpieces. I'm sure you've heard of or seen the movie, (which I also love) but the book is so... so... I can't even put it into words. It truly is nothing like the film, and I hate to see it being thought of as some matronly, 90's love story. As we all know, a movie can never do a novel justice. Every time I re-read it and turn the last page, I feel an odd sense of inherit sadness. I'll rub my thumb down the spine and stare at the back cover as if the story might continue if I look long enough. It's odd how much of myself I can put into other people's words. Words I could never say out loud. I hope his words conjure up the same images for you as they do for me.
Here is my favorite bit... similar to the monologue in the film, but not quite identical.
"We die containing the richness of lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we have plunged into and swum up as if rivers of wisdom, characters we have climbed into as if trees, fears we have hidden in as if caves. I wish for all this to be marked on my body when I am dead. I believe in such cartography- to be marked by nature, not just to label ourselves on a map like the names of rich men and women on buildings. We are communal histories, communal books. We are not owned or monogamous in our taste or experience. All I desired was to walk upon such an earth that had no maps"
Ah, I couldn't have said it better myself. Truly.

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