Required Reading: deciding to finish

Sardined together on the thin bookcase are The Cat’s Pajamas, The Search for Order, If I Die in a Combat Zone. One memorized, the second is not mine?, the third skimmed in a high school class.

There is nothing so dazzling to me as bookstores beckoning with their carnival of letters, the crisp sheets welcoming. Whispers then skeletons emerge about secrets handed over by force, by thrill, or through the looking glass. In books seems always something far away and always something that was not known before.

In rereading a paragraph I am brought back to a random train ride I had taken one Thursday in December.

But, despite my ardent obsession my reason tells me I must pause before I buy yet another book. We all, save for perhaps certain monks, have objects we worship. My bookcases become altars and when praying I am forgetful though devoted.

Yesterday the first test appeared in an airy bookstore. I was tempted by the highly organized paperback Feminism for the 99%, then by Aphorisms by Kakfa, then I lost my interest with my eyes deep in Waiting for Gadot. There were pops of travel books – frankly they were usually unread – and big sturdy books about nature and what trees have to say about this, though I don’t really want to branch out into this.

Enticed! Threatened! The sensations I felt led me to write down a note on my phone titled “Library”. There. If I want a new book so badly (doubtful) then I could either come back and to buy it at the end of this experiment or I could go and get it from the library. I was pitting my forgetfulness against my desire for instant gratification.

I left the bookstore differently than when I had come in; ahead of me I saw my direction.

Stacked on the coffee table at my home are The Swerve, Behave, On Intelligence, In Search of Fatima, A Field Guide to Sailboats; and they are all complete in their own way, yet for me melodramatically unfinished. I want to see the stories through for a little while until a new idea for an experiments hits me and I rush to that nook of the world with its new books in search of time, its meaning, its parameters all divided up neatly into numbered chapters. Black text over white. Smell of rustling leaves. In prose, please.

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