Books and Places

Books and Places

Some books are forever linked to the place where I read them. I didn’t necessarily read the entire book in that same spot but somehow certain moments and places stand out for me.
There’s Life After Life by Kate Atkinson which I read lying in the grass in our garden. It was summer. There were bees buzzing around our patch of lavender and the sun was giving me everything she had.
I read Pearl Harbor in our old car when I was sixteen while we were driving to France. We were going away for a week. I was not too happy about it. This was the moment where I felt too old to make friends (something I had done without a moment’s hesitation during every holiday we ever went on before that). Pearl Harbor was the first adult novel I ever read. I had picked it up on a whim at our local library. I was the only book I had with me. I read it three times that week.
The last Harry Potter book was read on the couch in the house I grew up in. I cried the whole way through. My mother thought she was being funny when she asked me who had died… The sixth book, I read in my bed in that same house. I read it mostly under the covers because I was supposed to be asleep. But how could I stop reading?
I read Lord of the Flies in Cologne. HHhH by Laurent Binet in Amerika (it’s a little town in The Netherlands, I swear I’m not making this up). I read The Boy In The Striped Pyjama’s on the Eurostar home after a weekend sightseeing in London with my sister.
While I was sitting in the hospital’s waiting-room to have my right foot checked after I broke it, I read Slaughter-house 5. I read Burial Rites by Hannah Kent in another hospital after we did a presentation with the consultancy firm I used to work for.
I read a Dutch proof copy of Gone Girl in the little kitchen above the bookshop where I worked a million years ago. It had a different title then, ‘Donker Hart’ which translates to Dark Heart. Then it became ‘Verloren Vrouw’, literally Missing Woman. And when the book proved to be a huge success they finally caved and left it at Gone Girl.
I have read a lot of books over the years. Most of them end up on my shelf as an item, but others are shelved as memories.
What’s the first book-place link that popped into your head?
Let me know!

2 thoughts on “Books and Places

  1. What an absolutely delightful post! I found it fascinating to get titles and snippets of memories with each. I am not usually one to have memories of what I read where. I was basically always trying to read whenever and wherever I was. The only book where I have a definite memory of where and when I read it is Harry Potter 5. I was working backstage on a show in Rhode Island. Funny I can’t remember the name of the show. I got me HP book at midnight at a local bookstore and proceeded to start it in me lodgings. Then came sleep (because I had to) and then getting up for the two shows the next day. The actress in the show was also readin’ it like I was. We had a race to see who could finish it that day. I was a much faster reader but she had a lot more time off that day. Every time we saw each other we would exchange page counts. It was readin’ backstage between tasks and scene changes, in the halls, in the greenroom – basically anywhere I could snatch a few moments for another paragraph. It made the readin’ super fun and the day super special. She did end up beating me by the slimmest of margins! We then of course discussed the book for the several days afterwards. Fun times. Thanks fer bringing’ back the memories.
    x The Captain
    PS I think the show was cloud9. But don’t quote me on that.

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