Maybe I’ve written too many posts about encounters with people and their books. While this blog is not Today’s Perfect Books, it isn’t surprising that literature so often creates perfect moments for me. My degree is in English Literature (all prepared for life in the 16th Century as Jim Croce put it) and I have loved reading since I first learned how to do it.
When I looked over at my seating partner, I immediately recognized the book she was reading was Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha without even reading the title–the cover picture is that memorable, or distinctive…or iconic.
We briefly spoke about the book. I mentioned that I had read it over 30 years ago. She explained that she was going to read Demian next. I saw that look of someone who had felt they discovered a great treasure–and indeed they had. I could see how absorbed she was in her book and I let her get back to it.
What makes this encounter different from the others that I have written about is the age of the person. She was a high school student. It triggered a memory of my reading books in high school that were different from what so many people were reading. There was Hesse, Camus, Salinger, and Pirsig. There books on Zen Buddhism, reincarnation, altered consciousness and the afterlife. There was Heinlein, Asimov, and Ellison. There was a bigger world I was only just discovering.
So, sitting there on the bus, I admired this young person and the journey she was on. It also made me wonder about my reading choices of late. Perhaps, I should be exploring more.
Is there a book you wish you could read again for the first time?