One Christmas several years ago, my Mom asked me what I wanted, and I told her the perfect hardcover edition of Haruki Murakami's 1Q84; white with a frosted dust jacket and two photographs of a man and woman on either side. For a while, I loved carrying it around, hugging it to my chest as one does when a favorite author publishes a deliciously heavy volume. A part of me sighed, yes, I'll have tons of time to dwell in Murakami's mirrored universe. A true adventure. But after a few years, and yes, the saga continues for me, the weight of it in my bag through the rush of a New York City commute... Needless to say, I went to Barnes and Noble and purchased a paperback edition.
Paperbacks offer the cracked spine satisfaction of scoring the reading of a book to your daily life. A cozy sweater and comfy ripped jeans on a rainy day. It invites you to converse, punctuating moments with dusty rose mildliners. Underlined passages like tiny instant photographs for scrapbooks. New Friends and Old Friends having tea stained brunches, pages undulating to the rainfall because you couldn't stop reading on the way to the bus. Dogeared and soft, etched with your fingerprints and notes and smudges of that day you spent with your mother, or took a train trip to the countryside, or crammed into a packed subway station, your book mere inches away from that cantankerous passengers face.
A spine cracked conversation with your past lives and the contented feeling that comes with seeing old friends and the old selves you were when it all began.