The Book That Lives Under My BedPosted: December 19, 2011
I usually keep a book or two under my bed, within arms reach. Reading a bit before I go to sleep slows the race in my mind to a casual stroll and allows me a good nights’ sleep.
It seems weird that another person’s words would make the ones running through my mind take a break. Perhaps it wouldn’t work if people wrote books about things I’m supposed to do tomorrow or expressing concerns about my uncertain future. Thankfully, books about me are not among the more popular genres.
In The Interest Of Accuracy
“A book or two under my bed” is not completely accurate. If you were to look there, you’d usually find two books. One of those is just passing through. It will be gone in a week or so. The other one lives there.
As best I can remember, I started reading the book that lives under my bed at least ten years ago. There is an airline ticket from 2004 stuck between the pages as a bookmark, but the book and I were together for several years for several years before that trip.
I went through the book the first time and immediately restarted it. I’ve been reading it more or less continuously ever since. My book is like one of those films you re-watch and see something new in each viewing. Each reading provides a new discovery. It is an amazing piece of work, especially given the difficult personal circumstances the author was in at the time.
Sometimes The Book Makes The Choice
When I am between readings, I still pick the book up and read a chapter or page at random. Sometimes I’ll seek out a particular section.
Other times, I start reading wherever the book decides to open itself to me. Perhaps that is part of the book’s charm for me now. While the author’s mastery of the language and ability to make me see what he did hooked me on the first reading, this particular copy of the book is part of the experience for me.
Purists would have a fit over the condition my book is in. The binding is broken. The pages are dog-eared, some purposely, others from being dropped back over the side of the bed. The cover has a big crease. I could replace it with a duplicate copy for a few dollars. But I couldn’t find its equal, ever.
My book has traveled with me. It has been on family vacations and business trips. I’ve read it on my lunch break from work. Sometimes I think I can smell the ocean in it from when I brought it on scuba trips, but maybe that’s me getting wrapped up in what I’m reading. The wear of those travels, each bend and tear tell me the story of the journey the book and I have been on for all these years.
I read it a little last night. Later this week I will read more. We’ll keep being roommates, with me in the top bunk.
Be good & you will be lonesome – Mark Twain, from the frontispiece of Following The Equator