You know how certain smells will always remind you of certain things? There is a smell I catch, occasionally, which instantly takes me to my Grandma’s house. And music can do the same. Every relationship I have had has had a soundtrack and there are certain songs I can’t listen to without the memories flooding back.
My relationship with books is kind of like that in reverse. For me to enjoy – no, more than enjoy, utterly immerse myself in – a book, I have to be in the right place, physically and emotionally. Naval Gazing partially hit the spot because I was on my own, feeling introspective in cold, rainy Copenhagen. I don’t think Fifty Shades of Grey would have been the same in my cosy flat in wintry England as it was in a stark hotel room in sunny Houston. There are books I loved when I was younger – On the Road being the prime example – that I could never read again, for fear I could never love it as much. Wrong time; wrong place; wrong Kate.
Since I finished Fifty Shades I have picked up and put down a few books. Books that should have stuck in an American environment, like A Confederacy of Dunces. And I am not sure what this says for my emotional state, but the one that has really hit home with me here, now, is Life of Pi. I think when I travel (and particularly on planes themselves) I tend to become more philosophical and introspective. And Life of Pi suits that mood perfectly.
I am only halfway through, but loving it. And it is a book I would never have read of my own accord: I am not normally won over by either religion or animals (on paper – in real life is another story). So this is absolutely what this project is all about.
As always, one of the reasons I really like this book is the quotes. More to follow in the proper review, but to end, a strangely appropriate quote, for this wistful traveler:
“All living things contain a measure of madness that moves them in strange, sometimes inexplicable ways. This madness can be saving; it is part and parcel of the ability to adapt. Without it no species would survive.”