I was paging through my recently returned copy of Galore last night when I forgot about my folded pages. When I’m reading a book and I come across something that makes me smile or nod, I fold the bottom corner of the page down. Now, I know this is totally bad book etiquette, but I own these books and there’s nothing I like more than the look and feel of a book that’s been read and enjoyed. I fold usually when the author puts an idea, or a feeling of mine into words that I never knew I had until they put it on the page. It’s really a fascinating thing and it’s happened a couple of times in books I’ve read recently.
For example, in Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese, there was a posting on a bulletin board that was advertising a pot luck and it said “If it didn’t move before you cooked it, we don’t want it.” It was so witty, simple and charming that I couldn’t resist and turned the page down. Whenever I finish a book I turn back to look through them and when I saw that last one, I was surprised that it wasn’t a more deep or provocative thought but I still got a chuckle out of it and that’s what’s important.
In Galore, I found one turn down that I wanted to mention. It happens at the beginning of the book when one of the “main” characters, Mary Tryphena, mentions that at 6 years old, she can’t understand why adults seem to know so much. As an only child, she doesn’t know many other children and feels at a disadvantage. I remember this feeling distinctly from when I was a child but I hadn’t thought about it until now. You know that eye-rolling, slightly patronizing look you get from someone older than you that says “I see what you’re saying, but since I’m older I understand the world much better than you do, so you should listen to me?” I hated that. Most of all I hated that they were always going to be older and wiser and there was nothing I could do about it.