I can always tell how much I enjoyed a book by the state it’s in when I’m done with it. If many of the pages are turned back at the corners, and there are stippled lines in the margins as if sandpipers have been walking on the edges of the text and making notations, if the back page has a jumble of lines from the book, interlaced with thoughts and ideas I had while reading, then this is a book I wanted to remember, ingest, carve into my psyche.
A filmmaker friend of mine recently described the completion of one of her films, and her attempts to begin the next project, as something akin to a divorce. “The world as you know it is gone,” she said, “And you have to start all over again.”
I still remember the moment I decided not to read James Joyce’s Ulysses. I was an English major at the University of Cape Town, milling about with other students in a large lecture hall with raked wooden seats.
I remember picking up Anne Landsman's debut novel, The Devil's Chimney, way back in 1999 and being so transfixed by her ease of storytelling that I made a mental note to read as much of her writing as possible.
The family dog's on prednisone because she has allergies that make her gnaw at her paws. I know how this drug has to be administered – a half a tablet twice a day for five days, then half a table once a day, then half a table every other day. It's not good to take a dog off steroids suddenly.
Tess, who had just turned ten, had been been riding for three years. Last summer was her first time away from home for more than a week-end. My husband and I had already looked searchingly at each other, not quite sure how we were going to bear this first big separation.