“What do YOU carry in your bag?”
I’ve seen this several times in magazines, where celebrities’ bags are opened and boldly dissected for the world to see; what shade of lipstick does she carry with her, which perfume best defines her signature, everyday scent, what moisturizer replenishes her skin when in absolute emergency? And while I, like the rest of the women (or men) out there, have my own secret cosmetic favorites, I’ve come to realize that my very own indispensable item, one that I would groan out of frustration if I had perchance, forgot — is none other than — a ‘good book’.
This one ‘good book’ would be my sole distraction when we are parked in the middle of a crowded marketplace while the hubby (not I, as the prices for tomatoes would suddenly be, say, 10 USD per kilo as opposed to the 3-4 USD per kilo when I show up), and I am waiting in the car. But ‘to kill time’ seems like a rather boorish and understated reason for carrying a ‘good book’, so here’s another one.
To those who have ever gotten lost in a story told so effortlessly mesmerizing, concocted with details so vividly real that it would take you a few blinking moments before you are transported back into reality again – there is nothing more exhilarating and refreshing than to turn the page of a ‘good book’, anticipating the next happenstance to alter the fate of the character you are rooting for. When you find your mind deeply engulfed in the delightfully imposing imagery that derives from the words you just read, when you have to actively tear your eyes from the book in order to answer nature’s call, or any menial daily tasks that are so trivial and irritating in comparison… You know that you’ve fallen prey to words on paper – a most sophisticated seduction. And what a sweet, alluring entrapment to say the least.
Surely, that finding the time to read at a leisurely pace, without the pressure of a deadline, and to be able to laugh out loud either alone on your couch or on a bus full of people is a true luxury in itself. My cousin, who recently visited us in Africa reminded me how I used to always have my head stuck in a book, one of the few childhood habits that I’ve happily carried with me to this day. And recently, as I find myself reminiscing more and more of the past (part of the process of aging, maybe), I begin to realize how big a part the books like “Little House on the Prairie”, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, “Anne of Green Gables”, “The Count of Monte Cristo”, all have in shaping my creativity, my views on chocolate (because Roald Dahl makes it so fun, I mean, who wouldn’t love a chocolate waterfall), and little did I sense it back then, my outlook on life itself.
The ‘good book’ that currently sits on my lap when I’m pretending to work on my laptop, that I obediently insert into my bag every time without fail when I leave the house, is David Nicholl’s ONE DAY. A second read, and surprisingly more enjoyable than the first. I have less than thirty pages before I reach the end, already dreading the concluding sentence, knowing full well that I won’t find it satisfying because well, the end of any good book is never truly the closure you need.
At the start or the end of any disheartening day, at least there is that one good thing, a ‘good book’ to look forward to.
What is in YOUR bag?