'But what shall you do alone all the evening? With that cough, you won't go to sleep till late.'
'Well, if I don't, I've a lot of new books to keep me busy.'
'Oh, your books --!' She made a little gesture, half teasing, half impatient, in the direction of the freshly cut volumes stacked up beside his student lamp. It was an old joke between them that she had never been able to believe anyone could really 'care for reading.' Long as she and her husband had lived together, this passion of his remained for her as much of a mystery as on the day when she had first surprised him, mute and absorbed, over what the people she had always lived with would have called a 'deep book.' It was her first encounter with a born reader; or at least, the few she had known had been, like her stepmother, the retired opera-singer, feverish devourers of circulating library fiction; she had never before lived in a house with books in it. Gradually she had learned to take a pride in Hazeldean's reading, as if had been some rare accomplishment; she had perceived that it reflected credit on hum, and was even conscious of it adding to the charm of his talk, a charm she had always felt without being able to define it. But still, in her heart of hearts she regarded books as a mere expedient, and felt sure that they were only an aid to patience, like jackstraws or a game of patience, with the disadvantage of requiring a greater mental effort.
'Shan't you be too tired to read tonight?' she questioned wistfully.
'Too tired? Why, you goose, reading is the greatest rest in the world! ...'
The act of reading ... begins on a flat surface, counter or page, and then gets stirred and chopped and blended until what we make, in the end, is a dish, or story, all our own.
— Adam Gopnik
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October 26, 2015
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