Here’s my pick for this week’s Book Bytes.
“I know the look of an apple that is roasting and sizzling on the hearth on a winter’s evening, and I know the comfort that comes of eating it hot, along with some sugar and a drench of cream….. I know how the nuts taken in conjunction with winter apples, cider, and doughnuts, make old people’s tales and old jokes sound fresh and crisp and enchanting.”Mark Twain’s Own Autobiography: The Chapters from the north American Review
I have never had a roasted apple. Definitely never with sugar and cream. In fact I’ve never had a cooked apple apart from an occasional apple pie or the apple stew I used to make for the children before they started off on solids. And yet this quote makes me yearn for one.
It’s not just the apples, right? All the author does is mention a hearth, a winter evening and the sizzling apple. That’s all it takes to tempt my imagination and it rushes up eagerly to fill in details. It conjures up soft yellow lighting (to complement the fireplace), bright fluffy rugs and soft sink-right-in cushions. I’d also include my grandma and a bunch of my cousins to make this scene picture-perfect for she’s the one who would probably be telling those tales and roasting this apple I’ve never eaten.
It’s even more fun to think that reading that passage (without context) can conjure up a completely different image for someone else. He/She might imagine sitting before a fireplace in an old-fashioned pub telling tales with friends, or maybe roasting s’mores at a campfire.
That’s the power of evocative writing – it takes us to our own special place.
On a side note, do make time to read the excerpt from Mark Twain’s autobiography where he talks about the time he spent at the farm with his cousins. It reads like an Enid Blyton book and makes you long to be there.
Is there a passage from a book that stands out in your memory because it made you nostalgic for an experience you might never even have had?
Before you leave:
Do check out this post by Anamika, where she picks an interesting quote from The Bookish Life of Nina Hill.
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