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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February 21, 2016

Oh, yes. I remember now!

Does this happen to you?  Sometimes, there's such a gap between when I first hear about a book and when it comes in at the library (or the bookstore) that by then I've forgotten why it drew me in.  Here, I was so happy to discover, on the first page, that it was this....

'... may I introduce my younger brother Max?  He is writing a great work on the monuments of antiquity. I trust that his efforts will eventually see the light of day, but I think you're still stuck in the first volume, aren't you, Max?'
      The publisher bowed to his distinguished with a merry smile, revealing an unexpected bald spot that gleamed with all the neatness of a recent tonsure.  His smile included the somewhat embarrassed Max, who resorted to effortless good manners. He raised her hand to his lips and murmured, 'Enchante, Madame,' in obsequious tones. Then he stood back to look at her. So this was the author of Adam Bede and Romola, the fame of whose Middlemarch was even then resounding through Europe like a triumphant drum. This was the woman considered too scandalous ever to be invited to dinner by respectable English families, all of whose members nevertheless read every word she wrote.
Four chapters in, it's a little quirky ... that doesn't always work for me, but I think it will this time.

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