Everything we’ve ever imagined

We live our lives, do whatever we do, and then we sleep—it’s as simple and ordinary as that. A few jump out of windows or drown themselves or take pills; more die by accident; and most of us, the vast majority, are slowly devoured by some disease or, if we’re very fortunate, by time itself. There’s just this for consolation: an hour here or there when our lives seem, against all odds and expectations, to burst open and give us everything we’ve ever imagined, though everyone but children (and perhaps even they) knows these hours will inevitably be followed by others, far darker and more difficult. Still we cherish the city, the morning; we hope, more than anything, for more.Michael Cunningham, The Hours

It’s 9 pm on Thursday evening, and I’ve just done something I haven’t done for a very long time. I read an entire book today. I woke up, having finished reading Call the Midwife last night, and sat down at the foot of my bed to pick another book. I reached for The Hours, opened it, and looked up 30 pages later like I had just awoken from a dream. My own surroundings seemed strange, because I had been so completely invested in what this book laid out before me that the story seemed, momentarily, more real than my own existence.

Read more

“By hook or by crook, I hope that you will possess yourselves of money enough to travel and to idle, to contemplate the future or the past of the world, to dream over books and loiter at street corners and let the line of thought dip deep into the stream.”
Virginia Woolf

She had always wanted words

“She had always wanted words, she loved them, grew up on them. Words gave her clarity, brought reason, shape. Whereas I thought words bent emotions like sticks in water.”

It’s been about two months since I first opened “The English Patient.” In a masterstroke of stupidity, I picked up the book during final exam week of the fall quarter. Needless to say, I did much more reading than studying that week. Usually, I get the feeling of not being able to put a book down because the plot is exceptionally compelling, and drives me forward. This experience was different. “The English Patient” does have a compelling plot, but it accumulates slowly. Read more