I read like Kate, not Beth: doggedly, from start to finish. And I can relate to the feeling of grief which comes at the end of an epic series of novels.
I have just emerged blinking from several glorious months dediated to a single trove of books, Patrick O'Brian's Napoleonic war novels, including Master and Commander, which was adapted into a film by Peter Weir. For week after week after week, enthralled, I learnt and loved the characters as I witnessed them growing older, enduring, exploring and sometimes expiring. What a marvellous experience! Finishing this flowing sequence of novels ... brings me a sense almost of grief. It has been joy to immerse myself so utterly in another world, and to experience the careful development of sublime authorship over 20 books.
By contrast, my friend Beth never approaches a book from start to finish. She's a voracious and astute reader. But Beth likes her reading to be an adventure. She'll open the book near the end; sample a few pages, then flick through to a chapter in the middle, and slowly work her way back and forth around the book until she's satisfied she's got the best flavour of it. ... She starts with Anna Karenina's demise, and works backwards to find out why. A true post-modern girl. ... Life is a rush; quite probably Beth gets just as much - or more - from her gypsy wandering.
Reading is my favourite and my best. Which is why my most loved romantic comedy will always be You've Got Mail. "So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn't it be the other way around?"
And I'm going to go and borrow Patrick O'Brian's Master and Commander from the library again. Time to get "the wind back in my sails."