So, as you can easily

Aug 31 2001 Kelly Norton
So, as you can easily tell from my reading queue, I put quite a bit of thought into the order in which I read books. Typically, I have at least twenty unread books on a shelf in my office and usually another five have been mentally slated for a re-read. I am a slow reader, so I find myself adjusting constantly, moving shorter books to the top of the queue to satisfy a whim before some expansive volume takes lasting hold of my attention. There are some magical books, though, that bypass the standard process and find their way into the top of the queue with virtually no forethought. It usually happens at the end of one book when I go to fetch the next read and find myself so enchanted by thoughts of the book that I just cannot pass it over. Last night, A Moveable Feast enchanted me. It was lying on the floor when I went into the office, and I mumbled the words: "We ate well and cheaply and drank well and cheaply and slept well and warm together and loved each other." I am reading on inspiration and it feels great; it is so hard to find anything inspiring these days. The book conjures up memories of life in France, and the idealism that isolation incites. I remember having an Englishman downplaying President Clinton's woes on the way to the Charles de Gaulle airport and sitting on the steps beside the Centre George Pompidou reading The Great Gatsby. In Metz, Kristen and I strolled on the banks of the Moselle. There were long convivial nights, and on one occasion the dawn found a group of four sitting in the grass drinking scotch from bowls (because we had exhausted our supply of cups in passing out wine) There are hundreds of freeze frames, but at the time they didn't seem so romantic as they do now. I suppose that is why A Moveable Feast came so late in Hemingway's life. The memories are sweetened over time. It is a human illness that magical moments go unnoticed; the icing is spread on by our own imaginations as time goes on. It's an illness we all suffer, heh, "Many must have it."