…there’s sand. Grains and grains of sand. Because of this condition, this year I committed to taking only paperback books to the beach. I mean, really, when it comes to reading at the beach, something I can finally do now that my boys are older, the paperback is the only way to go.
There are a couple of books which left a big impression upon me when I first read them many years ago. I decided to revisit them to see if they still would move me after so many years had gone past.
I started with Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast. When I first read it, I was an undergraduate infatuated with the romance of Europe and expatriates. Two of those three have not changed. Reading it last week, I was once again transported to Paris, witnessing the cafe life of some of America’s finest writers during the 1920s. Hemingway’s observations, recounted from memory decades later, are remarkable as he paints such vivid scenes with an almost miserly number of words. It still works for me.
A couple of favorite passages:
“We’ll come home and eat here and we’ll have a lovely meal and drink Beaune from the co-operative you can see right out of the window there with the price of the Beaune on the window. And afterwards we’ll read and then go to bed and make love.”
“In Europe then we thought of wine as something as healthy and normal as food and also as a great giver of happiness and well being and delight. Drinking wine was not a snobbism not a sign of sophistication nor a cult; it was as natural as eating and to me as necessary, and I would not have thought of eating a meal without drinking either wine or cider or beer.”
The other title I picked up for the first time in years was Laura Esquivel’s Like Water for Chocolate. I remember being absolutely charmed by this wonderful novel when I initially encountered it. The passion! The deftly handled magical realism! I loved it then and I love it now. I could almost taste the words.
Here are a few morsels to savor.
“To the table or to bed
You must come when you are bid.”
“A man equal to loving someone who needed love as much as she did, a man like him.”
“…within our bodies each of us has the elements needed to produce phosphorus… each of us is born with a box of matches inside us but we can’t strike them by ourselves…each person has to discover what will set off those explosions in order to live, since the combustion that occurs when one of them is ignited is what nourishes the soul.”
What are your favorites? Have you revisited any recently?