'How pleasant it is to spend an evening in this way! I declare that after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.' No one made any reply. She then yawned again, threw aside her book, and cast her eyes round the room in quest of some amusement. — from Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen (1775-1817)
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July 11, 2013

Home alone, with someone else's books



When she wasn't in the library, or teaching at the university, she would work here at her desk most days, looking out at the canal with her books on the shelves behind her. She slotted them into the spaces that she found amongst my own so that now, when I am searching for an old textbook or browsing for one of my mother's gardening books to read in the silence of my weekday breakfasts, I am from time to time surprised by a volume of Shelley, or Keats, or by a run of novels. And sometimes I will open one of those instead and see an inscription, 'To Rachel, My Love', without a signature, and I will begin to read and find myself rushing through an open weir, carried away by a current that is strange to me and new. And when I am halfway through and utterly lost to myself, no longer in London but far away in Italy, a fifth person in an abandoned hillside villa lit only by candlelight and now then the light from a storm, I will turn a page and come across a postcard covered in a script too faded to read, or a photograph of Rachel with someone I do not recognize, and I will remember what she used to say about the sort of person who went to the trouble of using an actual bookmark to keep their place.
from Every Contact Leaves a Trace, by Elanor Dymott


2 comments:

Cosy Books said...

Now I am in suspense...what DOES Rachel say about people and bookmarks?! Just wondering because I have loads of them...bet this makes me some sort of fuss-pot, doesn't it.

JoAnn said...

What a lovely passage! I just had to look the book up on amazon... would never have guessed it's a murder mystery!

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