I’m writing from a coffee place and feeling very hipster :). I came here in search of some quiet personal space. This might not be your first association with a crowded Coffee Company, so I will explain. I do, of course, have a lovely student room all to myself, but being there feels slightly different. Somehow, being out and about on my own gives me a strong feeling of connection to myself that I normally only get when I am taking a long, lonely, international train journey.
When I lived in the UK last year, I would go to the Brynmor Jones Library (the Hull University library) for some peace. Oddly, this is the thing I miss most about my exchange. I didn’t go because I loved the books especially, but because of the atmosphere and the feeling of being somewhere with a purpose. I could sit there for six hours straight and work, getting done far more than in a day at home.
So what does this have to do with books?
When I started reading One Hundred Years of Solitude in the early summer of 2014, I didn’t quite know what had struck me. I found the novel mesmerizing and challenging in one of the best ways possible. How could one book make me feel this way? I must be exaggerating. Before trying this novel, I had never read anything that professed such a different way of looking at life, yet showed this through small details. The gypsies’ magic, the old man tied to a tree, the girl who flies away with the laundry, they all made a huge impression on me. However, it was the underlying world view and inescapable repetitiveness that made the gears in my head shift and me feel more connected to everything. The characters feel so very much alive. This is not a book that “changed me forever”, but it did pose as a place, a feeling to evoke when I needed it. Something special that I shared with only myself and the people in the story (not to mention the millions of people who read this book).
I am not saying that you should absolutely read this book (though it is a very good book, read my jubilant review here), hell, you might not even like it. It is not so much a particular book, as the impact a work of fiction can have on me. It was my new quiet place.
So lots of love from this little café, which, though it doesn’t feel like a safe haven yet, has some power as well. (Not that it is that peaceful – I didn’t know a coffee machine could make that much of a racket.) I’m off to order another cappuccino.