Sunday, September 6, 2009

Books & Memories

Here’s another entry inspired by a Nemira contest: “Un concurs al amintirilor”.

It looks like I don’t even have to bother to think about subjects to write about on this blog anymore. After having briefly read the entries posted by the other participants so far, it became clear to me that my chances for the first prize are rather slim. But that’s OK, I’m not aiming for the camera, I just want the books. :)

The trick about this contest is that it doesn’t require a review or a literary text, it’s based on a real life event related to one of the books published by Nemira before 2004. Now if I could write about a particular Peter James book, then we would have a real psychological thriller with horror influences on our hands and I’m sure several people would get quite a kick out of it, especially since I normally don’t believe in all that psychological crap. Unfortunately, I got that book about two Christmases ago and therefore the publishing date doesn’t comply with the contest’s rules.

So we’re back to my first choice, a book very dear to me that left me with the yearning to be able to write stories like that. Dune, written by Frank Herbert, was published by Nemira in 1992, which means I was the 8th grade at the time. It came out in two volumes, but this memory is strictly related to the first one.

With few exceptions I was a good student who got mostly 10s (the highest grade awarded by our school system) and because of that I wasn’t too stressed by the upcoming exam I needed to be pass in order to be accepted to continue my education in a respectable highschool. Still, I wasn’t the type to bring books to school and read between classes or under the desk, maybe because I was the only one interested in sci fi in my circle of friends and they didn’t understand my liking for this genre. Come to think of it, they didn’t understand much my passion for reading either, but that’s another story.

In Dune’s case things happened a bit differently. Dad brought me the book in the middle of the week and in between homework and stuff I only had time to read part of it. I was anxious to read some more and I thought that during pauses and after classes while waiting for my parents to come and pick me up I could do that. So I put it in my school bag along with my text books and note books. I don’t remember if I actually got to read it that day, though I probably did, what I remember vividly is Dad coming to pick me up and what happened after that. We went home, had lunch with grandma, and then he went to take a half an hour nap before going back to work. How can he function on such short naps I still hadn’t figured out, but it seems to be working for him.

I, on the other hand, had made a habit out of starting on my homework as soon as possible to get rid faster of that unpleasant task. This time when I reached for my school bag I was looking for the book. An extra hour of reading before doing my homework couldn’t hurt, I reckoned. I pulled everything out, turned the bag inside out, but the book was gone.

A few minutes later Mom came home from work, found me with a long face and asked what happened. I told her that I had lost the book. I was very upset, first because I really liked that book, and second because such things didn’t usually happen to me. I didn’t lose things, and I had never lost a book before. Practical as always, Mom put her coat back on and went to school to look for it. She searched in every corner of the classroom, she even asked the cleaning lady, but all efforts were in vain, she wasn’t able to find it. The book had disappeared.

She returned home empty handed, gave me the bad news, and went into the room where Dad was resting to inform him of the situation. I could hear them talking from my room:

“You know, she lost the book you bought her…”

“What do you mean she lost it? I took it from her bag to read a few pages before falling asleep.”

Indeed, Dad had started reading the book too, but since he had less spare time than I did he was much behind and he was trying to catch up when he could. I was so relieved when I heard that, but also a little pissed because of how things had turned out. No need to say I didn’t let it out of my sight until I finished it, Dad had to wait, and I did the same with the second volume just in case.

True story!

PS The cat broke my scanner so here’s a photo of the cover.

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