since then, i couldn't put the book down, notwithstanding that it had taken me over a year before i could even start to read the book, and at least 2 attempts before i started reading the book again, from the start, last year. the first time i had read the book, i was already at the point where fermina daza and dr. juvenal urbino de la calle took what at the time was a novel hot-air balloon ride and literally delivered the first airmail in the caribbean. i still knew the story, but had to start again from the beginning, and savor the lush language of garcía márquez, and his immortal first line: "it was inevitable, the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of unrequited love".
the reason it had taken this long before i finished the book is that garcía márquez's language had always been so rich, it became exhausting to read. besides, i had inserted ian mcewan, kurt vonnegut, and josé saramago in between. it is really the kind of writing that i am drawn to, and also the kind of writing that i think i do. sometimes, in enjoying the language with which the novel was written, i begin to wonder whether i am more interested in how the story was written, and less -- much less -- in the story itself. i remember getting my first copy of garcía márquez's "one hundred years of solitude" back in college. i had purchased the book with money i had won in an essay-writing competition, but i didn't get to finish the book until the holy week break. and as with "love in the time of cholera", i had to begin again, after at least 2 failed attempts.
so it has been a marathon month for me of voracious reading. and since i'm also already halfway through saramago's "history of the siege of lisbon", i've decided to read it next, maybe leafing back a few more pages, until i recall what has really happened to the proofreader, who changed history by editing one word in a textbook.
i would often tell people that the key to good writing is good reading, but i am myself not the most well-read person even in my small circle. but very very few persons in that same circle i hold in high esteem as a writer. i've always been skeptical of the canon, of people who prescribe a list of 1000 books one must read before one must die. i do not believe in that for many reasons: because i read what i want, what i like, and i do not necessarily like everything that others do. i am my own person, and my decisions, including what i choose to read, are a result of my own, independent, reasons.