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On Having to Stop Reading Midstream

Posted Feb 27 2014 7:27pm

Recently I've had to put down a book I'd been savoring, Florian Illies's 1913 , having become too overburdened with reading I have to do for work -- not necessarily not pleasurable, this other reading. Nevertheless I felt a little surly about having to set aside 1913, which entered my life with no demands, only to offer itself as delicious indulgence.

And yet. There turns out to be something sweet about it about the rift. Because the result is I've had playing in my head ever since -- like a wonderful aroma you somehow keep smelling for days, despite its physical source having left your olfactory purview long ago -- the last lines I got to, on page 73:
As it rains incessantly, they sit inside and sip cocoa and wait until the Master has finished his day's work. In the evening they drink wine together; at night the damp air is filled with frogs and toads and nightingales.

(This is Max Jacob and Eva Gouel in Barcelona, and the Master is Picasso.)
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