Cue Semisonic’s “Closing Time” and that’s how I’m feeling about reading Delia Owen’s Where the Crawdads Sing.
Yes I know that the movie was just released in 2022 and no, I haven’t watched it. I know that whenever a movie comes out there’s a resurgence in reading the book if it hadn’t been read before (or lovers of the book re-reading it) but still, the height of obsession with the book is well past since it was published in 2018 which seems like yesterday and a lifetime ago all at once. Yet the most wonderful thing about books is there really isn’t ever an expiration date and it can be read and reread at any time. It was a few days ago that finally after seeing it pop up again somewhere in my internet travels that I decided it was time.
I listened to the audiobook which annoyingly had a cover update from the movie (I hate that) but beside a captivating narrator, I found that for as popular with book clubs and reading circles, pop culture lists and Goodreads Choice Awards, I didn’t know anything about the book. It was what I hold dear about reading the book for the first time in 2023 because other than it’s general popularity, I didn’t know a single tidbit of what awaited me which is why my respect for the book deepened. I got to read the book as myself, not as anyone else or through anyone else. My own experiences interpreted what Kya was experiencing. My own experiences sensed the marsh. My own experiences greeted the characters.
For readers who have moved on, having a conversation about the book has well-passed since vivid thoughts about the book fade over time as new books crowd out the memory of the older books. But I wanted to celebrate here that a book is evergreen. It never goes out of style whether it’s 10 days old or 10 years old. As I wrote this sentence, I remembered Chicken Every Sunday by Rosemary Taylor, a book published in 1943 that was often read by soldiers during World War II. It was mentioned in the book When Books Went to War by Molly Guptill Manning. I promptly went to my indie bookseller who found a 1943 copy of Chicken Every Sunday that I bought, took home, read cover to cover with a cup of tea and my blanket, and sat in the experiences of from a half-century ago, but felt like it was yesterday.
Cheers to timeless stories.