Saturday, January 18, 2014

32 Books: Chapter 2: Castles in the Air

If you have built castles in the air,
 your work need not be lost;
 that is where they should be....”
 Henry David Thoreau

One of my favorite scenes in any book or movie is when Harry Potter and the Weasley family enter what seems to be a small tent and finds themselves in something of a cavernous underground vacation home.

 That space they entered reminded me how it feels to fall into the world created by a good story. When a writer publishes a story, they build an enduring castle in the sky that anyone can visit,  and anyone who sees the castle not only connects with the storyteller but also invisibly with every other person who has ever read or will ever read that book.  

32 books in front of me, and I don’t know which to read first. OK, I do know, I want to read Tina Fey first, but that’s so obvious and so easy it’s like going on the first roller coaster you see at a theme park.

 I decide Tina Fey has to wait and I stare at the books waiting for another front runner. 

I grab a stack of 10 to take with me, and decide to decide later. 

Later comes in the early afternoon, in the quiet space of carpickup.  Usually I watch the kids play in the playground and answer email. Today I reach my hand into the box and pull out the thin shiny book on top.

It’s a title I’ve heard of by an author I’ve never read, so I’m ready for the worst.

The first sentence of the book unfolds itself with a staccato beat of dancing words so delightfully engaging they feel like the opening beats of a Lorde song. I’m hooked. 

Before I can get to the bottom of the first page my eyes water up with tears of effort from trying to read the book without my glasses.  

I put the book down and turned on a podcast of Car Talk to fill my empty minutes.