I love serendipitous moments. While I was reading a book and falling a love with it, the character in my book described reading a book and falling in love with it. And it was during Ramzan (or Ramadan as it is known in the Arab world.) Why is that last part relevant? Read the beautiful passage below.
The book is Rabih Alameddine’s An Unnecessary Woman, a portrait of a 72 year old woman living alone in Beirut.
Ah… the deliciousness of discovering a masterwork. the beauty of the first sentences, the “what is this?,” the “how can this be?,” the first crush all over again, the smile of the soul. My heart begins to lift. I can see myself sitting all day in my chair, immersed in lives, plots, and sentences, intoxicated by words and chimeras, paralyzed by satisfaction and contentment, reading until the deepening twilight, until I can no longer make out the words, until my mind begins to wander, until my aching muscles are no longer able to keep the book aloft. Joy is the anticipation of joy. Reading a fine book for the first time is as sumptuous as the first sip of orange juice that breaks the fast in Ramadan.
Joy is the anticipation of joy. That’s what makes reading a fine book the same as a first crush, or a first love. When you have fallen in love with a book, the time it takes to read the rest of it will be pretty much like a love affair. When you are out in the world, you can’t wait to return to your beloved. Every new sentence or passage you read makes you fall even deeper in love. You rave about your beloved to anyone who will listen. Like Aaliya reading her book, your heart ‘lifts’. Your soul ‘smiles.’