March 6, 2006

Falling Back in Love with Fiction

When it comes to reading, I am a voracious eater. I swallow words by the dozen, gulping down paragraphs like a famished traveler. Page by page, book by book, I eat the words as if preparing for a seven-year drought. I am too eager---too hungry---to savor the metaphors. When I am finished, my mind is tight with words and stories, but I am left unfulfilled.

As I read Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies, I'm trying to become a more-refined eater of fiction. I'm making an effort to slow down and taste the fare, taking small bites and chewing thoughtfully. I let the similes and alliterations roll on my tongue; I try to enjoy every meal.




Reading is like sitting on your front porch on a summer evening and sipping strawberry lemonade through a red and white straw.


You pick up the ice-filled glass and bring it to your lips. The liquid enters your mouth and your teeth shiver with its coldness. The tart flavor tickles your tongue. As the lemonade gradually glides towards the back of your mouth you taste a sweet hint of strawberries.

Between sips, your eyes scan the horizon. Green trees with green leaves. Soft winds that rustle the branches. A purple sky and a setting sun. Time slows down, and for a moment the world is an endless summer. Dandelion wine, as Bradbury described it.

You lick your lips and bring the glass to your mouth again, ready for another taste.

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