I wish I could read fast enough to post something new and wonderful about a different book every day, but reading fast enough isn't really the issue: life is the issue. It's that having to go to work everyday thing that gets in the way. And the thousand-and-one things I have to do on the way home from work like pick up drycleaning and go to the grocery store, and, and, and...Conversely, would I truly be living a life if my dream came true and I just sat in a room by myself with no interruptions and read all day? No matter how wonderful it would be to have the opportunity, having the balance of my introspective life spent quietly reading and the extroverted hecticness of everyday life in my house allows me to reflect, at 1:00 in the morning, on all of that wonderful (and sometimes not so wonderful) reading that I do.
How often have I read a character and then in the course of the next day encountered similar mannerisms in someone at work or recognized the cadences of a friend's voice in the thoughts of someone in the pages of a book? That's when I know that I'm reading an author who knows how to write characters, and I admit it: characters are important to me. When was the last time this happened? Probably reading Still Life by Louise Penny. Her Inspector Gamache made me sit and think about my father and my irritation with what I always thought of as his passive inactivity in life. Only in the last three years as my father has battled lung cancer , making even short conversations difficult, have I come to realize the power of my father's silence. He lived in a house with three women and watched our frentic activity flow around him. Now I sit next to him, unspeaking, and hold his hand as we watch my mother, my husband and my daughter together, and I see, I finally see, what he has been the silent witness to all of these years. I'm thankful I've learned his lesson: you don't have to always be speaking to be part of a conversation.