Yesterday was my favorite day of the week. It was a Monday, though its Mondayness had no bearing on its lofty appellation. It was no holiday. It held no special personal significance. It is a day of the week that is beholden to no accepted calendar. In fact, its frequency varies—it comes around every 3, 5, 8, 14 days…I’m never really sure.
Yesterday I finished a book. It was a fine little allegorical literary mystery set against the backdrop of Hollywood’s Golden Age and WWII, Out There in the Dark, by Wesley Strick. Finishing the book wasn’t what made the day enjoyable. I liked the book.
No. Yesterday, the best day of my week, was the day I spent thinking about what I was going to read next.
It’s my brain’s Christmas Eve. It’s working my finger under the wrapping paper fold of my birthday present. It’s the house lights dimming and the projector throwing that first flicker of light onto the screen of my imagination. What would I choose to spend the next 3, 5, 8, 14 days immersed in?
Would it be The Invention of Murder, Judith Flanders’ deep-dive history into the Victorian Era’s fascination with death and the birth of forensic investigative techniques? Would it be Acceptance, the third and final volume of Jeff Vandermeer’s eerie, unsettling, strangely affecting and wholly unique Southern Reach Trilogy? Maybe J.G. Ballard’s Running Wild, a cult classic I’ve been meaning to read for years and finally ordered for myself? Or perhaps I would stumble upon some completely unknown (to me) and unexpected used book during my shift at Booksellers? That’s how I came into possession of Out There in the Dark. Working here is hazardous and wonderful in that way. Or maybe a colleague would push something into my hands, something I just had to read.
As a lover of books, I have an always-growing to-read pile. All the books there are ones I really, truly want to read. I have more want than I have time. And while I enjoy, to one degree or another, almost every book I read, sometimes…sometimes. Wow!
Sometimes a book shakes me, moves me, spins me around and re-orients me to the world. While I’m often hopeful the next book will be one of those books, they rarely are. It’s what makes them so special. They mostly educate, edify and/or entertain. Not bad consolation.
But never quite knowing what the next book holds. Call it possibility. Call it expectancy. Call it hope. Call it antici-page-tion.