March 18, 2012

Adventures in reading

First edition (image Wikipedia)
I find that headline funny. It sounds like one of those boring Reader's Digest categories. How I detested that magazine and its goal of providing writing specifically designed for nitwits. But never mind. I'm talking about real adventures in reading.

When I was about 15 or 16, I was sitting in a chaise longue in the backyard, reading "Green Mansions" on a beautiful, sunny day. I was so into it. If you haven't read the book (it's ancient and mostly forgotten now), it's about a man who chases a sound in the jungles of Brazil (I think it was Brazil, anyway). He thinks he's seeking an "organ bird" but it's actually a woman making the beautiful sounds. She is the last of her people, a lineage of humans never encountered by homo sapiens. And she not like us at all. She's, well, magical. It's a great story (if you can fight your way through the old, stilted language of the day).

Okay, that's the set-up. So there I am in the backyard, wildly into the book, reading with bated breath as the male character walks through the jungle -- when suddenly he's bitten by a poisonous snake.

Exactly as it bit him, something fell out of the sky onto my bare leg, landing with a big, disgusting splat. I've never seen anything like it. It was a giant insect, maybe eight inches long, and see-through. It had a very creepy head, which was smashed to pieces on my knee. It was like something from another world. And it was a big, gooey mess on my leg. Ugh.

Adventures in reading. Ever experienced anything like this, where a scene you were reading seemed to enter the world and freaked you out? Reading. It can be wild!

No comments: