Tag Archives: reading

a church for books

The second-hand bookshop used to be a church.  Now it was a church for books.  But there were only so many copies of other people’s given-away books that you could thumb through without getting a bit nauseous.  Like that poem I knew, about how you sit and read your way through a book then close the book and put it on the shelf, and maybe, life being so short, you’ll die before you ever open that book again and its pages, the single pages, shut in the book on the shelf, will maybe never see light again, which is why I had to leave the shop, because the man who owned it was looking at me oddly, because I was doing the thing I find myself doing in all bookshops because of that maddening poem – taking a book off a shelf and fanning it open so that each page sees some light, then putting it back on, then taking the next one along off and doing the same, which is very time-consuming, though they don’t seem to mind as much in second-hand shops as they do in Borders and Waterstones etc, where they tend not to like it if you bend or break the spines on new books.”

from Girl meets Boy by Ali Smith



“The sort of books I like best are those in which I can completely lose myself.  At first, you sit with the unopened book on your lap waiting to meet the main character with that sense of anticipation you get on blind dates.  Is this person going to be your new best friend?  And then there’s a moment – normally just over half-way through – when your heart grows until it’s too big for your body because all these dreadful things are happening in the book and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.  You can’t even tell the character they’re making all the wrong decisions.  You’vve just got to keep on reading.  But then you get to the last words and you can’t believe it, you keep your fingers on the end sentence because it can’t all finish there.  It’s as if they’ve shut the door and left you on the other side, unwanted.  And you cared so much.  And there’s no way to make them see how much you cared.”

from Something Beginning With by Sarah Salway

A scene in a novel comes back to him

“A scene in a novel comes back to him in every detail, complete with the corresponding page layout, typeface, smell of glue and paper, and even the blank spaces, the punctuation, the word-break at the end of a line, with part of it hanging on by a hyphen and the balance forlornly embarking on the next line.”

from The Girl from the Chartreuse by Pierre Peju

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The Girl from the Chartreuse by Pierre Peju

DATE FINISHED: March 28th, 2012

RATED: *** (3.5)

SYNOPSIS:  A bookseller driving his van through the crowded streets of a small French town knocks down a young girl whose mother has failed to collect her from school.  While the girl is in a coma, Vollard tells her stories from his immense memory; and Eva’s mother drifts in and out of the hospital, more trapped than ever.  Both must live with their guilt over the child’s situation, and what will happen if & when the child wakes up?

THOUGHTS:  Despite the appealing jacket and the emotionally drama-wrought potential of the synopsis above, this is a very quiet novel, about two adults who are lost in different ways, for different reasons.   Read more of this post