The first book I’ve read this year. Or rather, finished reading this year. I loved reading it. It’s a book by Matt Haig. Although a bestselling author, I didn’t read any of his other books, so this was my first acquaintance with his writing style. I can tell he writes for children as well as his prose is very accessible.
The central idea of this book is what happens if you are able to live the infinite number of lives you could have lived if you’d made different choices in your life. This is what happens to the main character of the book, a woman called Nora. In her mid-thirties she feels too miserable to live on and ends up in such a space. She gets the opportunity to try on different versions of her life.
The finale of the book carries a message across that there is no such thing as a perfect life. Anyone who feels the burden of missed opportunities and wrong decisions in their life could be inspired by this book. At least I was. Due to its accessible writing style I would even recommend it to teenagers aged sixteen and up.
The doorbell rang. Not an uncommon sound these days, as shopping online became the norm in this household again. Sinterklaas’ gift bag for Daughter needs to be filled on December fifth and therefore the past few weeks, anticipating on a surge in online orders and thus delivery delays, the past few weeks the doorbell rang on a daily basis. I’m still waiting for the last of the packages to arrive. I got up from my desk, walked downstairs and found a package in the door. The package was small enough to fit through the mailbox, but certainly bigger than what I ordered. I grabbed the package and opened the door. I saw the delivery man walking back to his van, his back towards me. After closing the door I looked at the name on the package. It’s addressed to me. Sent from an unknown place in Paris. I put the package on the dining table. I had a meeting to prepare, so opening it had to wait.
Just before dinner I had the time to open the package. I ripped open the cardboard and found a book inside, wrapped in brown paper. I removed the paper and saw this.
A beautiful book with fourty drawings inside. My French is rusty, so I was glad to find the English translation of Rilke’s text to introduce the drawings. The drawings are from Balthus and tell the story of how he found a cat, Mitsou. The boy took him in, traveled with him and then lost him. It dawned on me that a reader of this blog sent me this gift, because only a reader of this blog would know about the passing of dear Lunel. And I know of one particular reader that has been shopping in France, from his home in Canada.
My favorite image in the book is of the cat presenting a mouse to Balthus. It reminds me of all the mice Lunel brought home in Enschede. It also reminds me of the cats that I knew before Lunel that brought mice to my parents’ home. In my interpretation of cats, this brutal act of presenting humans a living gift is the only way cats acknowledge our effort to feed them and keep them warm. And we humans don’t even appreciate it.
A wonderful gift to turn to whenever I want to reminisce the weird relationships I’ve had with cats.
I needed to spread the word about my podcast, therefore I logged in on facebook more often these past two weeks. Of course I scrolled through the stream for a bit and came to the conclusion I don’t miss a lot by not scrolling through my timeline. Instead, I’ve been enjoying reading books. I even started reading a (non-fiction) book that was on my to read list for more than fifteen years. Longform wins. In the end.