Whole New Worlds
I love the variety that can be found in literature. It’s so easy to get lost in the world of a good book, and the beauty is that there are so many possible worlds to lose yourself in. One week you can be reading Pride and Prejudice, absorbed in the world of English high society with dances and social calls and the hunt for a husband, and the next you can be far into the future, hunting down escaped and highly dangerous robots in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. Or in a piece of alternative history in 20th century America, facing the growing forces of Anti-Semitism with a Jewish family (The Plot Against America). Or fighting a war in Vietnam with the men of The Things They Carried. And each one seems fresh and real and expansive, as though each tale has endless room in which to stretch.
Today I started reading Heart of Darkness, and this was immediately the feeling that I got. The story opens on a boat on the Thames. Four people are on board, and a man named Marlow begins to tell a story of the days when he sailed down the Congo. It’s a setting as strange to me as any, having never been to Africa or having spent any large amount of time onboard a boat, and certainly never having lived in that time period, but it draws me in. As Marlow began telling his story, I felt that this was a book that should be read out loud because I can really hear a voice behind it, just like a sailor settling in to tell a long tale.
This is one of the things I love about literature. A million doors to open, and once I finish exploring this one, the next will be just as good.