One thing about reading is that over time one builds up certain memories of books that they have read. There are times when the circumstances are perfect and through some weird alignment everything falls into place and that simple reading experience becomes special. here’s 5 of the ones which have stuck out for me.
Philip Roth – Goodby Columbus
Back in summer of 1999, I had A LOT of time on my hands and one of my little joys was to hop on a bus, go to the bookstore, buy a novel, read it in two days and then repeat. No TBR stacks, nothing. Just one book after another. It has to be noted that every book was chosen by whim. That how Philip Roth’s Goodby Columbus was bought.
On the whole. the collection is okish but the title story/novella is a masterpiece and I read it on the bus ride home. Literally one of those moments when time stops and the novella absorbed me. Yes I did miss my stop but I didn’t mind as I read more on my way back.
John Fowles – The Collector & Ian McEwan – The Cement Garden.
A double whammy here. This time it was spring 2003 and I was working at the bookstore. However I did have a day off and went to the used bookstore and bought The Collector and Cement Garden. When I returned, I just sat down and read them back to back. An afternoon disappeared but it was an amazing one. To date I’ve never read two complementing books in succession.
Salman Rushdie – The Satanic Verses
I read The Satanic Verses under the worst circumstances possible: I was running a fever, puking my guts out and bedbound. Commonsense dictates that I should have chosen an easier novel but I lacked energy to move and that was the only novel close to me.
I was so engrossed with the story that I could not put the book down. In fact I would delve into the novel as much as I possibly could so that I would be able to forget my predicament. Strangely enough that has happened only a second time, last week when I had a mild case of influenza and I managed to read Bulgakov’s The Master & Margartia in a short space of time.
Elif Shafak – The Bastard of Istanbul
The perfect book for winter doldrums. Right book, right time, right year, right everything.
Aldous Huxley – Brave New World
Christmas 1994. Term one just finished and our teacher handed out copies of Brave New World saying that this was our set textbook for the next two years. I just stuffed it in my bag and that was it.
By the time the festivities ended I was home alone in the evening and decided to pick up the book, quite sceptical.
Talk about perfect timing. Here was a book which conveyed a lot of thoughts I had about the world at the time and it was written in the 1930’s. There was symbolism, humor and a plot I thought was weird. I finished the book in the early morning and read it again. Brave new World not only gave me my first big bookish memory but also opened the gates to, what is called, literary fiction and after that moment I decided to seek out authors who would provide the same type of experience.