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Cover of "The Shadow of the Wind"

Cover of The Shadow of the Wind

It looks like I’m in for some more rainy days. Clouds have obscured the sun, and I tore a hole in my sweater.  My favorite sweater. That’s enough to send me fleeing to my room with a favorite book. Yes, I know, it doesn’t take much.

If I were in one of Carlos Ruiz Zafon‘s books, I might have taken shelter in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books.  Sound intriguing?  I’m sure it does. Nothing sounds more seductive to a book lover.

In the Shadow of the Wind, young Daniel Sempere is introduced, by his father, to a secret place where books are preserved because it is said that “every book has a soul,”

There are conditions.

According to tradition, the first time someone visits this place, he must choose a book, whichever he wants, and adopt it, making sure that it will never disappear, that it will always stay alive. It’s a very important promise.  For life.

Daniel chooses a book called The Shadow of the Wind by Julian Carax.  The book casts its spell over the young reader, and Daniel searches for other books by the author.  He finds no other books, and instead stumbles over a deadly mystery.  Someone is destroying all of Carax’s books, and whoever it is, wants the copy that Daniel owns.

Shadow of the Wind is simply one of my favorite books of all time. The characters are one of a kind.  The plot builds and twists like the serpentine streets of Barcelona and concludes with an emotionally satisfying end.  Most of all, I loved the writing.  The words struck a chord deep inside me and bade me follow.

See for yourself:

“Once, in my father’s bookshop, I heard a regular customer say that few things leave a deeper mark on a reader than the first book that finds its way into his heart. Those first images, the echo of words we think we have left behind, accompany us throughout our lives and sculpt a palace in our memory to which, sooner or later—no matter how many books we read, how many worlds we discover, or how much we learn or forget—we will return.”

“Destiny is usually just around the corner. Like a thief, a hooker, or a lottery vendor: its three most common personifications. But what destiny does not do is home visits. You have to go for it.”

“A story is a letter that the author writes to himself, to tell himself things that he would be unable to discover otherwise.”

“The nurse knew that those who really love, love in silence, with deeds and not with words.”

The Shadow of the Wind is about books, good books, love, and death with a smattering of outrageous philosophy thrown in.

The business of courtship is like a tango: absurd and pure embellishment.  But you’re the man, and you must take the lead.

The lead?  Me?

What do you expect? One has to pay some price for being able to piss standing up.

So there you go.  Meet you at the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, then?