I got thinking about my hospital stays, and realized that each one of them is indelibly associated with the book(s) I read while on the hospital bed.
The first time I was admitted to hospital during my adult life was six years back, when I was expecting my first child. My contractions had been rather strong when I was admitted into the labour ward, so I was pretty sure I would finish the book I had taken with me only at home with my baby. The book was Colleen McCullough’s 'The Thorn Birds’, and my labour dragged on so long that not only did I finish the book, I had even to make the hubby get me another book to see me through the second day.
The book he brought me, in his eternal wisdom, was Sophie’s World – “I don’t know how the book is , but it is think, so you will not be bothering me again for awhile”. I read all my favourite parts in hospital, and strangely, haven’t returned to that book since. But I am not sure if the book counts as a ‘hospital book’, because I had read it more than once before and did not finish it in hospital.
My second child popped out as soon as I got myself admitted into the nursing home, so my next hospital stint was when I was admitted to hospital because of my falling platelet levels. I knew I had only to last out my malaria, for the levels to pick up, but since the doctor insisted I be admitted, I was. Two books went to hospital with me – Joane Harris’ ‘Five Quarters of the Orange’ and Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s ‘Sister of my Heart’. The first I liked a lot, but try as I did, I have just not succeeded in re-reading the book, despite more than one attempt. Chitra Divakaruni left me strangely dissatisfied. The book had everything that should have gripped me – a setting I knew and loved, characters and situations that I could relate to, and enough reasonable twists and turns to keep one happy – but it never quite lived up to the potential it showed. Perhaps that is the reason that remains the only one of her books that I have ever read.
I wonder if I am the only one who associates books with particular periods of my life, or if it is a universal phenomenon.