Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Best Ever

One of my great joys in life is reading a book and, upon finishing it, feeling, with passion, appreciation, and a little sadness, that it’s the best book I’ve ever read. I’ve experienced this joy many, many times. And NO, there is no contradiction in that.

Because, being the best book I’ve ever read is not a relative thing, and it’s not something that will necessarily endure any tests of time. It’s a valuation of a moment – usually a long moment: a few hours or days, sometimes longer – but a moment all the same.
Of course, I’m being very un-literal here. But if you love books, or paintings, or movies, or music, or dance, or sex (and really, there are so, so many different experiences of life that this feeling relates to) I’m sure you know what I'm writing about.
It’s about being so immersed in an experience – in this case, a work of art – that it becomes the world, blots out everything else, re-defines reality…for that long moment. It’s about a creation over-flowing its boundaries and invading your senses, so that, for a time, you live inside of it, and your life is exploded beyond normal you. You learn to think and feel and to BE a different way.
As you might suppose, I’m currently reading the BEST BOOK EVER. (Yes. I admit, I haven’t even finished it, and I already know it’s the best ever!) It’s The Orenda, by Joseph Boyden. I’m not going to try telling you what it’s about, or anything like that. Only that it’s powerful, beautiful, devastating, and that it is re-creating the world I know and live in. And that you should read it.

And, not so very long ago, I read another BEST BOOK EVER. That was Room, by Elizabeth Donoghue. Again: devastating, powerful, beautiful. (What else can you say when an artist creates an entire new world, out of bits of your own world that you thought you knew, but didn’t really.)

Okay. I know I’m writing nonsense here. It just happens to be true nonsense. When you are brought entirely into a world, even an imagined one, even an ugly and brutal one, as each of these happens to be, it becomes real. And when that reality is so sharp and clear that it resonates with all you know, and takes in and somehow makes clear-er, so much that you didn’t know, and even what you didn’t know that you didn’t know, well, relativity flies out the window, and there is only room left for superlatives.

There are movies I could write this about, and sunsets, and songs, and afternoons with the one I love, and…you get the point. Life is full of the Best Ever. This one just happens to be a book.

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