turning a page

February 19, 2021

I am re-reading About Alice, Calvin Trillin’s love letter to his wife. It was published in 2006, five years after Alice’s untimely death, and I read it a bit over a decade ago when I was expecting my first baby. Is it Stephen King that said, life is too short to re-read a book? I think some books are meant to be re-visited, seen through fresh eyes. I think about the books I read as a teenager, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Hardy, Bronte and Golding, and how my experience of them was limited, by well, my lack of experience. I remember moving to Florence at 19 and devouring Somerset Maugham and Paul Auster by candlelight. What a different experience it would be to read such books as The Moon and Sixpence or Moon Palace today. I wrote essay upon essay on Camus’ L’etranger, and looking back, I didn’t absorb a word of it. Existentialism? I was 16. My place in the world was my boyfriend’s couch and the greasy spoon around the corner from our school. There are so many brilliant books in the world, and as we navigate these weird waters, there is some comfort in the nostalgia of ones we’ve already read. We know how the books end. Our experience of how we get there though, that feels different.


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