Sunday, July 14, 2013

"A book can be where one finds oneself"

"Reading is sometimes thought of as a form of escapism, and it's a common turn of phrase to speak of getting lost in a book. But a book can also be where one finds oneself; and when a reader is grasped and held by a book, reading does not feel like an escape from life so much as it feels like an urgent, crucial dimension of life itself. There are books that seem to comprehend us just as much as we understand them, or even more. There are books that grow with the reader as the reader grows, like a graft to a tree.

"That kind of book becomes part of our own experience, and part of our own endurance."

From Rebecca Mead's My Life in MiddleMarch, which will be published by Crown in January. I have been reading an advance copy of the book, which is about the impact of George Elliot's novel on Mead's life. I have never read Middlemarch, but I am becoming completely engrossed in Rebecca Mead's book.

Tom Campbell