On Hardbacks and Hard Seasons

Posted: 24 January, 2014 in Daily Droppings
Tags: , , , ,

I’m not fond of hard covers. There’s a certain practicality which bothers me about them. Which is a curious thing because pragmatism is not something you think of when thinking of reading because when you’re reading, you’re taking flights of fancy.

People become attached to ritual with books. They pile them high upon shelves and windowsills like pictures of old friends. They salivate over ‘old books smell’, which is something real and scientifically explainable and now I’ve forgotten what that is.

You can’t fit a hardback in your pocket.

My favorite shape of a book is back pocket shaped. That’s why they must be paperbacks, small print and not terribly long.
At least for summer books, when you wear a Tshirt and jeans and you slide and old beaten Steinbeck or Bradbury, sticking out over your belt. You dash out unburdened by anything else to the park and sprawl out on the grass on your back and read lazily while your glance occasionally slips past the edges of the page and drifts over the forms of sunbathing beauties from the nearby university
Until someone darts by to catch a Frisbee, breaking your sightline, only or a moment, but that’s all it takes.
You would go and talk to her but no. You return to your Vonnegut, your Murakami.
Let them come to you.
Right now, you’re busy and with your eyes now returned in focus on the sun-white pages you’ve put up an invisible sign:
Busy. Do not disturb.
Unless you’re a pretty girl
And you want to talk about books

Winter is a wholly different time.
A bundling time. A time for very differently shaped books. The whole seasons is heavier. A time for heavier matters and heavier books. You bundle up. Scarf and hat and coat which has
Big. Pockets.
Perfect for larger books. Longer books. For longer nights by the fire or on the couch or in the warmth of a heated café. Maybe with bigger chairs; stuffed and lit with lamplight.
Before heading out into the bluster, into the snow, over the ice, you stock up. That heavy book of heavy matters. You bring the Russians. Tolstoy. Dostoyevsky. Writers who knew the meaning of cold winters and long nights.
You order something hot and sit in your stuffed chair, ready for a long session of reading. No point in coming all the way out, braving the cold just for a quick jaunt. You bear down. You delve. Surrounded by those others who are there, like you, for a good while, all starved for human contact. Stir crazy from their days inside. Twitching from taking fewer fag breaks because of the cold.
They are not dressed prettily. Their eyes are not flirtatious. This is a time when you here meet someone you know. To cuddle next to one another. To seek out dark mysteries in each other’s’ arms or with your head on the other’s lap.
There’s no sign up here. The book is a wall to shut out the cold. To keep you warm. To hide behind in all your layers
And fuck without touching.

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