Thursday, May 12, 2011

Word Memories

These are for Anjali, who told me to write this post after we both shared memories of the Russians in India. See her version of the prompt at her blog

Prompt: Write Your Memories of Reading Specific Books

Reading "Till We Have Faces" in the old previa mini van on the way to Maine. I was near weeping the entire trip from being so moved by the book. I remember that vacation as my favorite our family ever took together. When I think of Maine, and the changing leaves, and the sunrise from Kadillac mountain, and the bedroom Hannah and I shared with the smooth wood floors, I think of Psyche's mountain.

Reading "The Fellowship of the Ring" for the hundredth time on the way to a piano recital. That may have been my last recital ever. I was so afraid of performing that I read the battle chapters to calm my fears. What is piano to an orc with a battle ax?

Reading "The Return of the King" and crying at the end when Frodo leaves Hobbiton forever and Sam saying, "Well, I'm home," in the months before we almost moved from Hershey to Texas.

Reading "The Brothers Karamazov" on the plane to India and late at night long after I should have gone to sleep. I was fascinated by the characters and was able to follow the plot with an incredible commitment in those humid, fan blown, mosquito netted nights. I did not remember until today that in "The Namesake" by Jhumpa Lahiri, her story begins with a train wreck in India and the man reading Gogol's "The Overcoat" on that train and naming his son after the Russian author. Anjali also has memories of Dostoevsky and India. What is the tie between these two places?

Reading "Pride and Prejudice" from the copy Mrs. Bonfanti gave me as a present through her daughter Liz on my seventh grade birthday. I associate the font in that book with Jane Austen. Probably always will. I will forever be grateful for that gift.

Reading "The Red Ripe Strawberry" on the old couch. Or rather, Mom reading the book to one of my siblings and the distinct way Mom emphasized the sounds in red. ripe. straw. berry.

Reading "The Hobbit" to Gretchen on a plane to Missouri with warm banana muffins and lipton tea.

Reading "Ecclesiastes" in the first snowfall of sophomore year in the woods behind Sunset Park. Those pages in my Bible are still wet from the isolated wet marks of the light snow.

Reading "The Man Born to Be King" and the introductory essay over skype with Daniel and Tim. Something about the light that afternoon stays with me.

Reading "Say You're One of the Them" by Uwem Akpan in the grass outside of Boucke building, feeling like the sun couldn't be quite as bright as it looked, the grass quite as soft, the moment I looked up from the page in terror I couldn't escape when the machete met the head.

 Do any of you have equally vivid memories?

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