But today an era came to an end. One of my very well-traveled books, one that I have continuously had a bookmark in for well over a year, is finally finished and will cede its place in my luggage to other books. And a great shout was heard in all the land! I turned the last page of The Far Pavilions this morning. That book started traveling with me sometime last year and it was no tiny, compact darling to carry around. No, this book caused carpal tunnel just thinking about lifting it, weighing in at a whopping 955 pages. My copy also happened to be one of the books that went down with the ship last summer and so it was even larger than it appeared, swollen to twice its size. M.M. Kaye and company went to Savannah for Christmas and Easter with me (twice). It went to my summer cottage, also twice. It came home from the cottage dripping wet last summer and then went back up there again the same year, dried out. It hid in my luggage on our anniversary trip to Asheville (if I took books on our honeymoon, D. should have expected me to take them on our anniversary too, right?!). It went back north with me this year and flew home to attend my daughter's last dance competition of the season. And that is where the final page was turned. Because it was time. And by golly, I was tired of schlepping it back and forth and forth and back in suitcases and bags and sliding around on the passenger seat of my car.
I wonder what the next well-traveled book from my collection will be. There's just no telling what I'll start and set aside to be dubbed the book permanently on my bedside table no matter where in the country or the world that bedside table happens to be. Do you have books that you cart around with you and yet never seem to finish or am I the only one?
In addition to India under the British Raj, books took me to many more places this week than I took them. I altered the past by re-writing it in order to change my present. I went to the ancient world to learn about their foremost thinkers and scientists. I lived in an 11x11 room with a five year old boy and his mother, who was kidnapped years prior while a college student. And I learned the truth behind the authorship of Shakespeare's best plays as confided by his much maligned wife.