I realize I just blogged about reading this year, but here we are again.
After I picked up Cloud Cuckoo Land at the airport Friday, I really thought, “this is what I will snack on all the rest of the year. As I lie around relaxing with the fam, I’ll be reading this.”
But I finished it last night. So now what?
As an aside, CCL is a very, very different book to the ones I read all year long. I cried at the end. It’s moving in a way that murder mysteries just aren’t. It has a depth of emotion and breathtaking simple storytelling married with a complex narrative structure that Agatha Christie (bless her soul) can’t touch. I think I have missed these books. Also, Anthony Doerr is an excellent author.
I loved reading a big old paperback – most of this year has been digital reading, but there’s something magical about the feel of a book. The page edges riffling under your fingertips as you bend the book in half to hold it one-handed. The smooth cover and the subtly embossed lettering contrasting with the gentle toothiness of the printed pages. The smell! Oh god the smell of a book. The pages, the ink. I love when a book includes at the very end the typeface choices, and this one did. It makes the attention and care that went into the paper book apparent and wonderful. To care about such things! Have a look:
I am also a sucker for a beautiful book. Many of the grown up books I read don’t have images, so a gorgeous cover is an appetizer to the feast that is the story.
Digital reading makes sense. There isn’t a physical thing to move next time we move, or store for years. I can do it anywhere (and really availed myself of that benefit this year), and don’t have to carry another item around, which might be variable in size. I can read at night without disturbing Bob (in theory, in reality my phone brightness is very annoying apparently). I read far more digital words than I’ve probably ever read printed words at this point in my life. It’s easy and I’m used to it.
But the loss of the flavor of what makes reading such a joy, I feel it today having gotten so drunk on the physical codex (and narrative) of CCL.
So what next.
I seem to have a habit of reading everything and author wrote all in one go, so I’ll look through my collection and see what other Doerr I have at hand and go from there. Wish me luck, and send your next best recommendations.