Thursday, June 29, 2006

Lost Passage

Have you ever been reading a book that is not your own, been out somewhere like on the bus or at a park, found an amazing passage but had nothing to mark it with? Maybe you stuck a blade of grass in the page or a bread crumb, or maybe you figured that this passage was so fantastic that you couldn't possibly not be able to find it again. And then later that day or maybe the next you look for the passage and your blade or grass or bread crumb is gone and even when you practically read every page again you cannot find the passage. Has this ever happened to you? Did it make you want to beat the book on your forehead and scream whatever wild and nonsensical cussing and swearing came to mind? That is how I am feeling at the moment. I started reading Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Blithedale Romance as my lunch time work book last week. It's a paperback from the library so is small and light to carry in my bike bag. I am enjoying the book very much. I've only read The Scarlet Letter and a few of Hawthorne's more gothic short stories long ago and in school. Blithedale Romance is making me want to read even more Hawthorne. The weather being so nice lately, I've been reading outdoors at lunch. My bookmark is the library receipt with the due date on it. Early on in the book I came across a great passage, one that made me stop and say "wow!" The library copy of the book is rather beat up, I thought for a second I would turn down the corner of the page just a tiny bit so I could find the passage again. Then I realized my book mark was disposable so tore a little piece of it off, inserted it at the page and read merrily on, fully confident that I'd have no trouble finding the tiny slip of paper or the passage again. I was wrong. I know I should not have transported the book back and forth a few times before bothering to note the passage in a safe place. I know I should have noted it that very evening when I got home from work. But I didn't. And last night, when I tried to find my little piece of paper, I couldn't. I am sure the passage was at the beginning of the book somewhere so I started flipping and quickly scanning to no avail. So then I started again, looking more carefully. Still nothing. I began again, practically re-reading everything I had read up to where my marker is. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Now I am beginning to doubt I even read the passage. At first I thought maybe I read it in a different book. But if so, which one? I checked my other books in progress. No luck. I think I am about to slip over the edge into insanity. If I haven't already.