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“I only want to look at it.”

“No, you’re going to look at it. You’re going to rifle through it and thumb the pages.”

“Well…it’s a free country.”

“What about me? What about us?”

“Us? What ‘us’ do you mean? We just hook up sometimes. It’s not a serious thing.”

“So I’m just for when you can’t find anything better?”

“No! You’re special: your descriptions and scenery? Nobody else does it like you.”

“I bet you can’t even remember my characters.”

“Oh, stop pouting. I just don’t want to be tied down to one book at the moment.”

“Well, I can’t stop you. But before you go: just have a quick peep at my next chapter. Just one chapter. Just to see if you still like me.”

“Alright, just one chapter.”

I wanted a book from the Book Exchange at work and worried I had too many books on the go already: solution? To return one of the books I was partway through and not crazy about, as a swap for the one I took. So I flicked it open, just to see where I was up to and confirm that it was boring me and we should part ways — and something snagged. I finished that chapter and wanted to know what happened next. It turns out I was a mere five pages or so from a major plot turn and once I reached it, I was gone, solid gone.

“When did you get that?”

“Don’t tell me you never noticed that before? You’re more than a hundred pages in and you never noticed that motif? Man, are you blind.”

“I thought I knew you!”

“Only part of me. Part One. I’m full of surprises.”

Yesterday I reopened the long-neglected book at page 104: I remembered why I had put it aside. The actions of the narrator made me tense and angry and wasn’t sure I could tolerate reading the rest of the book. Today, at 11:57am, I reached page 432 (eyes filling) and finished.

I was going to stop reading this book because I was bored and because I wanted to take up something new: and I think that would not have been wrong. Books, despite my metaphor, are not people, although we do have relationships with them. But sometimes I’m stubborn and sometimes I just want to see things through to the end (anything to avoid being branded someone with no follow-through); and sometimes I worry about missing out on something special. I’m really glad I came back to this one, because it really impressed me. (Review later.) Just think, if I’d thrown it aside for that new fancy-pants book, I’d have completely missed out. Whoa.


“That was incredible.”

“I knew you’d come back.”

“But it doesn’t change the fact that I don’t want to be tied down to one book.”

“Well, if I’m honest, I wouldn’t mind letting someone else read me.”

“That’s fair. We had fun, right?”

“We definitely had fun.”

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