April 23, 2011


[Hysteric – Yeah Yeah Yeahs; The Chain – Ingrid Michaelson; Rolling in the Deep – Adele]

Five years ago, I was on a plane headed to Arizona. I was in the very last row, in a window seat next to my sister. Across the isle, a handsome, dark-haired man a couple years older than me was in the window seat next to my dad. He kept looking over at me and at the book I was reading. He tried several times to strike up a conversation, but I was like, Dude, that man you’re sitting next to is my dad. Not going to happen.

My demure behavior not withstanding, he stopped me at the end of the flight as we were deplaning to ask if I’d read a book called The Shadow of the Wind. I hadn’t. “You’d really like it,” he assured me.

I take unsolicited book recommendations from strangers pretty seriously, so I bought the book the next time I was at Borders. I put it in a stack of books to read, and there it stayed for years. (Tragic, if you are familiar with the book.)

I started it once on a trip to Germany, but I was reading another book at the time that, bizarrely, began in a somewhat similar fashion. Unable to keep the two story lines straight, I stopped reading The Shadow of the Wind. This spring, I picked it up again. This time, I became enraptured.

I can’t think of the last book I liked so well, one that not only deeply resonated with me, but was extremely satisfying and quite smart. It is charming, lovely, insightful. 

This recommendation has none of the elegance or mystery that it ought to. All the same, should you decide the read the book, you won’t be disappointed.

You’d really like it. 

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