This post is about 3 books I read for the 12 Books, 12 Months reading club and 1 book that I did not.

On my original 12 Books, 12 Months blog post (, I listed out the Connie Willis related books as such:

  1. Doomsday Book by Connie Willis, 1992
  2. Three Men in a Boat, to say nothing of the dog by Jerome K. Jerome, 1889
  3. To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis, 1998
  4. Black Out by Connie Willis, 2010
  5. All Clear by Connie Willis, 2010

Here’s the gist of this series:  It’s the year 2057, time travel has been invented but only the history departments of major universities even bother with it since the money holders found out they can’t steal things from the past (no really, they physically cannot remove objects from the past, no matter how hard they try).  I don’t recall any of the historians trying to visit the future, but then … all the time travelers are historians, not futurists. Most of the stories focus on visitng England in World War II.  Doomsday Book, however, is focused on the Black Plague, and To Say Nothing of the Dog (TSND) centers around 1888 – Victorian times.

But in my 12 Books 12 Months list, I forgot about the story that started it all — Fire Watch, from the 1984 short story collection of the same name.  So I read that first and I’m very glad I did.  Even though this story was published first, the events in it actually take place *after* the events in Doomsday Book, which came out in 1992. Fire Watch is a good place to start not only because it’s the first story in the series, but because it takes the reader right into the heart of Willis’ style.  Our hero is a PhD student in history who has to do “field work” in London, England during the Blitz.  He is stationed at St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Have you ever seen war ruins? Have you visited a church or a school that has remained in shambles for decades as a reminder of how stupid war can be?  I visited such a church in Stuttgart, Germany while I was a freshman in college.  The roof was gone, the windows were empty eye sockets.  There were large laminated black and white photographs around the ruins showing what it looked like before the war.  It was beautiful.  Even as a heathen atheist, I could see how beautiful and special this place was.  And it was dead now. Fire Watch reminded me of that church and then it showed me what it would have been like to be there when it happened.  Bombs, incendiaries, fires, and more bombs.  The Fire Watch was the group of volunteers who stood guard at the cathedral and tried to put out as many fires and incendiaries as they could, often getting killed in the process.

Strange as it may sound, this novella set in World War II reminded me how painful it had been to read Doomsday Book set in 1348 the first time.  So I decided not to read it again after all.  Doomsday is a very good book — historical fiction done as historical fiction should be, but man, was history depressing sometimes.  I don’t remember the story very well, but I remember crying at least once. I don’t want to be depressed when the days are getting shorter and the weather colder so I moved on to Three Men in a Boat (to say nothing of the dog) by Jerome K. Jerome – a comedy travelogue about three chums taking holiday on the Thames in a pleasant English June.

But first I will tell you about the book that got me here.  I first read To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis when I was a sophomore in college.  I found it on a “take one, leave one” shelf at the college library and completely fell in love with it.  I was a history major with crazy, delightfully eccentric history professors, and the book seemed to be made specifically for me.  One of my requirements of an excellent book is that it leads me on to other excellent books.  In the 10ish years since I first read it, I have worked my way through some of the other classics that it introduced me to — The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins, the Sherlock Holmes canon, and – of course – Three Men in a Boat.  My re-read this time around has given me more to look up that I forgot about — Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses and Dorothy Sayers’ mystery novels.

Call me a heretic, but I actually think the Connie Willis sci-fi is a far better book than the Victorian classic.  I did enjoy Jerome’s anecdotes and (some of) his tangents into English history and sentimental descriptions.  I have to admit that the Victorian elements of TSND made a LOT more sense after reading Jerome.  My advice would be to skim through Jerome’s book (it is free out on Gutenberg and FeedBooks) and get the taste of Victorian flourish and a dose of good humor before traveling through time with Willis.

Willis definitely has her own sense of humor and uses it very well in TSND — especially where dogs and cats are concerned.  I also love that sci-fi in this instance is not about the gadgetry but more about theory and thought puzzles.  In TSND, the thought puzzle revolves around time, paradox, and whether or not history can “correct” itself.  I won’t go more into it because I would just confuse us both, trust me.

Also, she doesn’t simply quote from other works, she weaves them into the texture of the story.  One of her characters uses examples from Agatha Christie’s Poirot to try and solve a problem, and another character relies almost entirely on Tennyson’s poetry for everything he says.

TSND cries out to be a hyperlink novel. Unfortunately, the ebook edition available on Amazon is pathetic.  Granted, I only looked at the sample chapter, but the format of the chapter headings was ghastly and it did not include any table of contents.  Why?  Why would you not have something as basic as a table of contents for an ebook?  I read the entire Jerome book in the Kindle app on an iPad and it had the same problems – no table of contents and clumsy formatting in the text.  Being able to quickly look up obscure Victorian terms by simply tapping made the reading much easier, though. I realized that my experience in reading these books now is very different than it was ten years ago thanks to the online search tools that I keep close at hand.  I first read TSND around 1999.  Google Images and Wikipedia didn’t come out till 2001 – which I used this time to find what the heck a penwiper is supposed to look like and to follow the route along the Thames.


I find it helpful when other bloggers write a “things I’ve been reading” post — these summaries often put other posts from the same blog in context, or serve as timely little bibliographies of a meme flying across the web.

One of my favorite side effects of reading many different things in a relatively short amount of time is the serendipity of themes running across all the readings. I hope I can get organized enough to start making a habit of collecting these little patterns and connections and summarizing them every couple weeks here on my blog.

First, I have to give a shout-out here to the Sioux City Pubic Library.  Although the website is abominable to use, their service is exceptional.  I requested a couple brand new books, thinking I might get an interlibrary loan if I was lucky, but instead they bought the books for the library and had them ready for me in less than 2 weeks from my original request.  I was mighty impressed.

So, this week’s readings.  The book I am reading right now – only about fifty pages into it, in fact – seems to be magically pulling together pieces from other texts and quotes I’ve been exposed to recently.  The book is Our Tragic Universe by Scarlett Thomas. I haven’t read anything else by this author.  I heard about this book in particular from Amazon’s Best Books of September 2010 newsletter, which made the book sound completely insane.  This appealed to me.

Page 19 –  seemed to directly refer to the young adult book I breezed through just a couple days ago – Restoring Harmony by Joelle Anthony.  From my GoodReads review: “I loved this book for setting the scene of a post-oil-collapse America. The author included wonderful credible details of such a future world, including a thriving black market, barter system, unreliable solar energy, backyard vegetable gardens, deserted cities, and a return to craftsmanship that makes sense. Even though nothing scary or disturbing happens in this book, the possibility of everything she describes coming true is scary enough in itself that I feel even more rushed to get that piece of land with an off-the-grid house and veggie garden. The author generously gives us until 2031 before it all goes bad, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it happens much sooner.”  In Our Tragic Universe, a character talks about “cultural premonition” – when people write and paint about a disaster before it actually happens.  The examples used in the book had to do with the Titanic. I’m sure there are plenty of other post-oil dystopia stories coming out soon or already available. I’m not going to look for them right now because the subject is freaky enough in my imagination as is.

Page 53 – “… a key feature of storylessness: all structures must contain the possibility of their own non-existence…”  This reminded me of a TED Talk from Andrew Bird that Mark and I had just watched, in which Andrew describes a song he hasn’t finished yet, a song about “self-destructive feedback loops” and a person who avoids heartbreak so well they end up causing it themselves, or an eye straining to see itself.

Most of Our Tragic Universe so far has been conversations between friends.  These conversations meander in remarkable ways, comparing Neitzsche to knitting, for example. These tangled threads reminded me of another TED Talk watched this weekend. This one from Steven B. Johnson, a technopundit with a background in semiotics and English literature, which makes for a very interesting mix of metaphors and examples in his writing. His most recent TED Talk is basically a plug for his latest book Where Good Ideas Come From: the natural history of innovation – which I also have checked out from the library but haven’t started reading yet.  To see a really fun, quick summary of some ideas from the book, check out this 4-minute video.

I finished an older book by Johnson last week called Interface Culture: how new technology trasforms the way we create and communicate from 1997.  The things that stuck with me were the brief histories of visual and architectural metaphors used in the graphical design of modern interfaces — from small details like “trash cans” or “recycle bins” to structural concepts like “folders” and “desktops”.   Some of his hopes and predictions for future interfaces had me wondering which of our contemporary tools might fit into his 1997 descriptions.  I had to give myself a quick refresher on historical internet landmarks in order to put Interface Culture in context.  For example:  the domain was registered in September 1997, “weblog” was supposedly coined in December 1997, Yahoo Mail started in October 1997, RSS wouldn’t be around until 1999, the iPod – 2001, – 2003, Facebook – 2004, Twitter – 2006, and the iPhone – 2007.  As I was reading the book, it was amazing to realize how much had changed in thirteen years and how much had not.  Some questions still nagging me:  what is the iPad’s interface metaphor?  Can we still talk about iOS having “windows” or has it done away with that old standby?  What is our mental concept map for navigating through apps on an iPad or iPhone?  How much longer will we continue to use paperbook metaphors in ebook interfaces?



It is with a sorta-heavy heart that I report:  I have broken my streak at  I had 45 days under my belt – 45 days! – almost half way to the coveted Phoenix badge (awarded to those who write 100 days in a row).

If you’re not familiar with 750words, I encourage you to check it out.  It’s a very simple, basic idea.  It gives you an online space to start and stick to a writing habit.  You write 750 words a day, you win cute little meaningless animal badges for writing so many days in row, or writing without distraction (ie. a 3-minute break), or completing a one-month challenge.

Even though I knew the cute little badges amounted to nothing really, I was actually mysteriously motivated by them.  Before I broke my streak, I had accumulated 9 badges – 9! Including things like the Speedy Cheetah and the Undistractable Hamster.  I was on a roll, man.

But the most mysterious thing of all? … I’m actually not that disappointed about breaking the streak.  No, really.  Maybe if I had been actively trying to write my post and wasn’t able to because of the cable went out, I might be upset.  In reality, I just plum forgot.  I had a wonderful day yesterday – got off work early, lunched at our favorite coffee shop, did some errands, made cookies, watched the X-Files pilot (which I had never seen and, heck, it was on Netflix Streaming), read a bunch out of a really great book I’m into — all around, a superbly relaxing day.  Writing?  Didn’t even occur to me.

So now I’m looking at this mishap as an opportunity – a chance to take a week off from writing, and focus more on all the reading I’ve piled up for myself, which will be mentioned in a separate post.

And I have to give 750words credit for doing the unexpected — it got me writing again on a regular basis.  Something I haven’t had with that much consistency in *years*.  In grad school, writing had become a laborious, painful punishment.  Considering I used to keep a journal, used to write poetry, used to *love* writing (before grad school) this was a pretty major change in attitude for me.  The silly animal badges and the colorful graphs showing progress in 750words helped me love writing again, even if it was just a simple journal entry.  So even if I won’t get that Phoenix badge as soon as I hoped, I am now looking forward to writing an article in the near future and I’m even considering getting on the NaNoWriMo bandwagon.

That can all start in a week.  For now, I will pause this newfound love of writing to revisit my love of reading.  Another beauty of 750words — I can always start again.

WARNING:  This is a nonsense brain dump. Nothing here is backed up by anything.

Thought experiment:

What would it be like to have no sense of history?  Example:  peasants of the Dark Ages did not know about the Middle Ages, and the Middle Ages peasants did not know about the Roman Empire.

What would this be like today?  If we only had the stories of our grandparents to go from, if that much?  If our historical view of the world ended with sixty years in the past, that would mean we would have no Jane Austen, no Isaac Newton, no Leonardo da Vinci.  Can we even imagine that?  A world without a past?  What would we even have today if our cultural memory only reached back fifty to sixty years… no popular culture as we know it, no literature, no science, no clue about where we’ve come from, what our family was like in previous generations, or how our ideas had developed.  A world without record-keeping, without archives.

This train of thought began while I was listening to the history of Saint Francis for the New Employee Orientation — a man born in 1182 C.E.  1182.  Over eight hundred years ago.  How do we possibly have any reliable material or sources about a poor hermit from eight hundred years ago?  How have we even built our histories of two thousand years ago?

What would our mental models be like if we had no concept of the 1920’s?  Of two world wars?  I wonder just how backward we would be right now if humans kept no histories.  In my own imagination, we would be no better or further ahead than the earliest city developments — just a collection of people selling things, people running things, and some people growing things around the edges.  In a world without any history, I imagine every day would be the same — there would never be news of new developments or inventions.  There would be no newspaper / news sharing of any kind because isn’t that a form of record-keeping?

I don’t know if I could successfully map out this thought experiment in my mind.  I see history everywhere – literally, everywhere.  Our apartment is full of it, my very job depends on it.  How would we have any universities without teaching about the past in one way or another?  It’s all history.  Everything we read, everything we study.  How old does information have to be, to be considered history?

I’m also thinking about two very different stories — Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn and Logan’s Run by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson.  In Ella Minnow Pea, a small island community has a statue of the man who came up with the phrase “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog” – a phrase famous for containing each letter of the alphabet.  One day the letters on the statue start falling off and the imbecile community leaders decide this is a sign from the divine that they must stop using those letters in all communication, written and verbal.  Anyone caught using the banned letters would be beaten severely, possibly die.  In Logan’s Run, we see a dystopia where anyone over the age of 21 must die.

What if some administration somewhere started deciding that we had to completely remove certain years from our history?  We would no longer teach or learn about 1066, when the Normans invaded England and gave to English it’s lovely French twist.  We would forget all about 1865, and thus, no one would ever know what happened to that one tall President … what was his name?  Or maybe we would cut out 1933 and 1934, making the whole Second World War even more bizarre and confusing than it already is.

But this is just a crazy thought experiment.  A what if.  The scary part about what-iffing … I always have a feeling in the back of my mind that every what-if is possible.  That if I’m crazy enough to think of it, someone somewhere is crazy enough to try it.

And then that leads me to other scary thoughts … what part of history HAS been erased?  What pivotal events or people HAVE been cut out from the archives and textbooks we depend upon for our cultural memory?  There are plenty of articles and books out there about the manipulation of American textbooks alone.  Fortunately, for most of the information left out of modern day textbooks, there are other sources to get the missing pieces.  But what about history going waaayyy far back?  Reading Philip Pullman’s book The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ has me second-guessing all kinds of historical moments that have become mythical for us now.

I’m very grateful to historians for keeping the curiosity alive and continuing to dig, to ask questions about the past.  But at the same time, I get overwhelmed by how much we really don’t know.


Part 1: Off-the-cuff initial reactions to Philip Pullman’s The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ

The book could be summed up as “No! That’s not what I said!” in a painful, wincing way.
It was very simply and elegantly written, mixing phrases and metaphors from famous English translations of the Bible with Pullman’s own what-if imaginings.  He managed to put some realistic human angles into the story of the gospels yet keep some of the original fairy tale aspects, too.   One of the best examples I’ve seen of showing how we got it wrong, we got it all wrong.

Jesus’ soliloquy at Gethsemane is a beautiful, believable, universal surrender to doubting the divine and, at the same time, a love letter to this crazy world we live in.  I think everyone should read this book for at least that chapter alone, and if you want to skip ahead to it, fine — it’s pages 192 – 201 in the hardback edition.
I do wish that the book had a completely different title.  The given title was too distracting to me.  As I was reading, I kept trying to place things according to what the the title told me to expect, which made parts of the story confusing.  I wish the title had instead been the big bold phrase on the inside front flap of the dust jacket, as well as the splash for the book’s official website:

This is a story.

A much more powerful way to describe what the reader is about to experience … and by the end of the book, you might think of that title in a whole different way.

Part 2: Paper or Plastic?

On another note completely … this is a book I will definitely be reading again in it’s e-book edition.  Or perhaps I should say … in it’s Enhanced Edition.  It’s not clear to me whether it would be Philip Pullman’s voice reading the audio track that accompanies the text, but I am very excited to see the interviews.  The re-reading will probably have to wait till November, however.

Karen Armstrong. A Short History of Myth, 2005

First book done!  for 12 Books, 12 Months

I am SO glad I started 12 Books, 12 Months with this one.  It was the only non-fiction book in my list but it paves the way for much of the fiction that I’m planning to read this year (and into next).  I started with Short History of Myth because it is the first title in the Canongate Myth Series — books by different authors, from different countries, retelling a myth from their culture.  I heard about this series because Philip Pullman’s latest book is the latest addition to the series (The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ).  But I have this thing about putting my media consumption in chronological order, whether it be movies, books, or TV series.  I can’t start Buffy in the middle or end, I have to see it from the pilot episode, moving forward… for example.

With the Canongate Myth Series, I am making an exception because: 1) I can’t get all the books anyway since a couple of them have not been translated yet, as far as I know, and 2) I really don’t want to wait that long to read Philip Pullman’s book, man.  And besides 3) I only have the Pullman book from my local public library for another week, so I have to start reading it, like, now.

It also helped that Mark happened to own a copy of Karen Armstrong’s book already.

The book is a nice, short introduction to mythology — just 150 pages long.  In such a small amount of space, it would be hard to really do justice to any particular aspect of mythology so I have to give Armstrong some credit for summing things up as well as she did.  My biggest problem with the book was in the second and third chapters when she is describing the development of mythology and religion during the Palaeolithic and Neolithic Periods. There were so many universal statements and broad sweeping assumptions that I started getting really annoyed with the writing, even though I was really into the topic.  Starting with the fourth chapter on early cities and city-states, the writing improved and the book got a lot more interesting.  I now have a longer reading list with things I never thought I would want to read, like the Epic of Gilgamesh, when man first turns his back on his gods — “Mortals are better off without these destructive encounters with irresponsible gods” (p. 74).

From there, we go into the Axial Age – so named because it is considered a pivotal time in humanity’s spiritual development and marks the beginning of religions as we know them today.  Post-Axial followed that with religions trying to become rational – throwing out their mythology in favor of silly attempts at “proving” the facts in their respective literatures.  And finally, we get The Great Western Transformation, which brings us up to modern day.  This chapter is terribly sad, depressing, emotional, but, by the end, hopeful.

This might be a weird analogy, but bear with me … I felt like I was reading something like Peter Pan, with a lot of foreshadowing of Tinkerbell’s death and not knowing if this new altered version of Peter Pan would save her or not.  At the same time, I found myself rooting for Tinkerbell even though I’ve always thought of her as rude and troublesome before.  Replace Tinkerbell in this equation with religion/mythology and maybe you’ll get what I mean.

Mythology is the hero in this little book.  A misunderstood, riches-to-rags character of heartache.  Our heartache.  Their heartache.  Everyone’s heartache.  But if another person’s mythology isn’t dressed up like our own, we try to destroy it … then steal the clothes to drape over our own mythology anyway.  Does mythology die in the end?  I’ll leave that to you to decide.

The last twelve pages of the book are some of the best twelve pages I have ever read — Armstrong mentions both T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land and magic realism as two examples of modern literature foreseeing and dealing with the nihilistic position we’ve put ourselves in by rejecting all our mythologies.  And no, she does not accept fundamentalist nuts as participants in mythology — one of my favorite quotes from the book: “once you start reading Genesis as scientifically valid, you have bad science and bad religion.” (p. 130)

And why do we need mythology, you might ask?  Armstrong gave plenty of reasons, but I like how her quote from Blaise Pascal summed it up best:  “When I see the blind and wretched state of men, when I survey the whole universe in its deadness, and man left to himself with no light, as though lost in this corner of the universe without knowing who put him there, what he has to do, or what will become of him when he dies, incapable of knowing anything, I am moved to terror, like a man transported in his sleep to some terrifying desert island, who wakes up quite lost, with no means of escape.  Then I marvel that so wretched a state does not drive people to despair.”  (p. 127)

Some other quotes to end with:

p. 124 “Myth had made human beings believe that they were bound up with the essence of the universe, yet now it appeared that they had only a peripheral place on an undistinguished planet revolving around a minor star.”

p. 138 “It has been writers and artists, rather than religious leaders, who have stepped into the vacuum and attempted to reacquaint us with the mythological wisdom of our past.”

p. 149 “If professional religious leaders cannot instruct us in mythical lore, our artists and creative writers can perhaps step into this priestly role and bring fresh insight to our lost and damaged world.”

Couldn’t sleep well last night so my mind went into composing poetry mode to help pass the time.


Our trees have disappeared
from the waist down
in this silent morning fog.

I walked into it, hoping to become
a misty grey blur.
It caressed me, teased me,
staying one step ahead of me.

But fog is not real.
The truth is,
we all slept in, everyone one of us.
We spent the morning hovering
between a detailed dream
and a vague reality,
while the trees looked out
above a low-hanging cloud.


People Watching

Look at them.
That couple holding hands
like two middle-aged teenagers
in love.

Mark has been taking a poetry class called Madwomen Poets, focused on Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton. I have the good luck to read and discuss the poems with him without having to write something like he does. 🙂 But the other night while he was dutifully doing his homework, I wanted to see if I could turn one of Sylvia’s poems into a visual. I also set myself the challenge of doing it only on the iPad. I used the Pages app – first time I’ve played with Pages much since I’ve been more inclined to use QuickOffice, thanks to the latter’s better options at getting files in and out of the app. Pages leaves a lot lacking in that area, but in terms of creating a document? Wow.

I based the mind map on Plath’s poem “Elm” – just pulling apart the themes that run across the stanzas and showing their ties. Didn’t come out exactly as I had hoped but still much better than I expected. I took a screenshot of the Pages document and published this post using the WordPress app to see how that would work with an image created on the iPad.

Update: Ah, I see. I took the screenshot sideways, thus you see it … Sideways. Oh well.


Mark the Husband joined a book club this month called 12 Books, 12 Months.  It started over at latter day bohemian and sounds like a terrific idea.  In my last blog post, I complained about not having a list of fiction to read and not feeling motivated by my non-fiction.

Well, lo and behold!  I stumbled upon a series this week that perfectly fits the bill.  The Canongate Myth Series is putting classic old myths into the hands of contemporary writers around the world and asking them to have a go at ’em.

The same day I found out about the Myth Series, I discovered that one of my favorite authors has a couple new books out (!joy!).  The author is Connie Willis and the new books pick up on themes started in her novels To Say Nothing of the Dog and Doomsday Book, which i haven’t read in at least 10 years.  I’m curious to see if I still like these fun little time travel stories as much as I did when I first found them…  so that whole shebang got added to the list.

And to round it out, I saw that Salman Rushdie’s second children’s book is coming out soon.  I heard him talk about these books at the ALA conference this year, in which he created a personal mythology for his sons.  He made the process of storytelling sound beautiful.

Thus, we have 12 books in 12 months:

  1. Doomsday Book by Connie Willis, 1992
  2. –  Three Men in a Boat, to say nothing of the dog by Jerome K. Jerome, 1889
  3. To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis, 1998
  4. Black Out by Connie Willis, 2010
  5. All Clear by Connie Willis, 2010
  6. A Short History of Myth by Karen Armstrong, 2005
  7. The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ by Philip Pullman, 2010
  8. The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood, 2005
  9. Dream Angus by Alexander McCall Smith, 2006
  10. Binu and the Great Wall by Su Tong, 2007
  11. Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie, 1990
  12. Luka and the Fire of Life, 2010

You might have seen one of the 12 books, 12 months posts going around last month. It’s a very, very cool online book club idea in which the readers each choose their own books to read rather than trying to all agree on a title. Reactions to the books are shared on readers’ respective places and thus, everyone gets to read what they want while also learning about different books from their friends. A book lover’s dream!

I had intentions of writing my own 12 books post, but ran up against a problem I keep having over and over again. My “to read” shelf is packed with non-fiction books but my motivation is stubbornly tuned to fiction of late. Trouble is, I can’t even think of 6 fiction titles I want to read, much less 12. The non-fiction on my to-read list are things I really do want to read… someday, when I’m in the mood. Which seems to be never? 😦

A couple times now I’ve appealed to my Twitter crowd for fiction ideas and had wonderful suggestions such as Matt Ruff and Susanna Clarke. I promptly devour those suggestions and then find myself back where I started – wondering what to read.

This might not be so bad if I wasn’t … well, a librarian. Even with the extra credits in my MLS I somehow never managed to take a Reader’s Advisory class, and I am now kicking myself for that.

What I really want is a series or even just an author that keeps me coming back for more. I haven’t gotten lost in fiction like that for a long time. I’ve enjoyed the books read lately, but did you ever have the experience as a kid of being so thoroughly engrossed in a book that coming out of it was like literally and physically stepping back in the room you were sitting in? That’s what I want.

“There is in me, always, a nostalgic yearning for the lost pleasure of
Books.” — Diane Setterfield, The Thirteenth Tale

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