The Mister gives me a book he picked up for me. I read the title, turn it around and read the back. Not much information but no "this is the best book in the world" comments either. I smile to myself and quietly approve. Praise for a book, printed on its own cover, always reminds me of the taste description on wine bottles: fancy words, not much meaning.
Finally, I open the cover, leaf through the first few pages and then start at the beginning. I savour the first few pages. Reading about a new character is a little like getting to know a new friend: full of promise but a dangerous business. After all, they might turn out to be really odd. I find myself drifting off so I jump back a paragraph and read it again. The story starts fast and then slows down. The main character is confused but for the reader, the situation is much more obvious. I read on.
A few pages in, the story is finally picking up. A hint of a scandal emerges, apparently loose threads begin to tangle. I read a little faster, getting absorbed into the plot. The main character stumbles through her story and I feel for her. More problems turn up and I begin to long for the happy end. For her. I read faster.
It's two hours since I started and I have reached page 172. During the slower parts of the story, I'm only reading every second or third word. I know what is happening but the feel of the story flies past me. I turn another page, skip over the chapter heading and plunge right in. And then I stop. I'm not enjoying myself any more, too many of the details are gone. It is tempting to read on, how can I sleep without knowing the end?
I read the heading of the chapter, place a postcard with a sheep on it as a bookmark and set the book aside. A few months ago, I would have continued now but I promised myself to slow down and savour what the books has to offer me. After turning it over in my hands a few times, I set it aside with a heavy heart. "I will come back to you tomorrow" I tell it quietly and then wander off to brush my teeth. When I climb into bed later, I longingly gaze at the book for a moment. Then I turn around, snuggling deeper into my duvet. Tomorrow.