moving forward

I feel like today has been rather unproductive. That’s probably not such a bad thing, but it doesn’t feel great either.

Today was a public holiday – our annual show holiday – so I had the day off work (thankfully). I had a good sleep-in, went to a friend’s place for lunch, came home to type up some notes about IVF drugs… Ok, maybe it wasn’t completely unproductive. Maybe? I kept getting distracted while typing up my notes. It’s been one of those days when my mind wanders constantly.

I’ve still been reading “The Narrow Road to the Deep North” (by Richard Flanagan). After work yesterday, I felt like eating out, so I went to a little restaurant in the City. It’s near my train station, so I’ve walked past it a few times; it’s intrigued me but I’ve never been inside. From the outside, it looks small and cosy. Once inside, I realised it’s actually quite spacious and well set out. There’s a lovely bar/lounge area that’s probably as big as the restaurant itself. The place is called Nest – simple and elegant.

I no longer feel awkward about eating out alone. I don’t know if other people get that or used to get that too. Sometimes I actually prefer to dine alone. Some nights I can’t imagine anything better than having a meal at a nice restaurant and sipping wine/cocktails while reading a good book. I just need to find places that have suitable lighting.

I’m really enjoying TNRDN but as I’m reading it, there’s a part of my mind that’s still stuck at an earlier point in the novel. It’s like a loose thread that gets caught on a barb or thorn, and everything unravels as you walk on so that even though you’ve moved forward, you’re not all there anymore. I’ve always found that it’s easier for my mind to let go of something – or at least loosen its grip on something – if I write it down somewhere. That somewhere usually ends up being this blog. (That’s part of the reason why I need this.)

The barb that has caught my mind is right near the start of the book, less than 30 pages in. It was the point at which I knew I liked the protagonist – “liked” in the sense that I could understand him, sympathise with him, and commit to reading the rest of his story. Perhaps this part isn’t even that important – I’ve wondered if maybe Flanagan put it in because that’s how he, himself, feels – but it’s a part that’s resonated with me.

“A good book, he had concluded, leaves you wanting to reread the book. A great book compels you to reread your own soul.”

And that’s not even the best part…

“He believed books had an aura that protected him, that without one beside him he would die. He happily slept without women. He never slept without a book.”

I pretty much share these sentiments. I’m not 100% sure about the part about books having an aura, but I’m sure that, without books, I would probably die. Of course, not in the literal, corporeal sense, but in the sense that some part of my soul would die.

You know, something that I find funny is that, in all this time that I’ve been reading TNRDN, I haven’t noticed any significant smell or scent from the book (I love the smell of books – there’s such a nostalgic quality in it) but just then, as I had the book open while I typed out those two quotes, there it was. Even though my sinuses are still half-blocked from this cold I’m recovering from, I could distinctly smell the pages of the book. It’s such a minor yet momentous thing for me.