Sunday Book-Thought 109

I am told that a big fire is loud, clamoring, windy, groaning. This, though, occurred almost silently, with just the slightest wheezy sound of air, a short of whoosh, as the book ignited. The pages burned so fast they barely crackled; the sound was soft, like a sizzle, or like the crinkly light sound of water spraying out of a shower. As soon as it was over, I felt like I’d just jumped out of an airplane, which is perhaps the natural reaction to doing something I’d resisted so mightily – there was the elation at overriding my own instincts, elation at the fluid beauty of fire, and terrible fright at the seductiveness of it and the realization of how fast a thing full of human stories can be made to disappear.
Susan Orlean, The Library Book (London: Atlantic Books, 2019), p. 58.

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