From Your Bookshelf is a series I started in order to connect with other book lovers and share stories about a book they love. It is an extension of my From My Bookshelf series, and you can learn more about it – including how to get involved – here.
The inaugural From Your Bookshelf post is from Elizabeth of beforewegoblog. She shares the story of finding a special edition of a favorite book – a sort of coincidental discovery.
Often remarkable things happen at the most inopportune times. I found my favorite book by my favorite author wandering around a bookstore after our car broke down somewhere in Nowheresville, California. I knew of this author, anyone worth science fiction fan cred knows of Vonnegut, but what I didn’t realize is that he wrote a little-known book named Galápagos. The book that I discovered was a hardback first edition signed copy just forlornly sitting on a shelf. This book was practically begging the right person to buy it and make it an integral part of their lives. And, that person on that day happened to be me. That’s what favorite books do. They become a part of your heart at the weirdest times, and if you believe in souls, they become part of that too. They help make up the fabric of the person that you eventually want to become.
I held the book to my chest, I opened up the front cover and got a whiff of pure nostalgia blown into my face. The book smell is a heady thing. I rubbed my finger along its gold pages, and I would not have been at all surprised at the spotlight from on high shining down on me while the rest of the bookstore darkened. I knew at that moment that this book, “Galapagos,” would become a part of me.
I parted with my hard earned 80 dollars, took it home and poured through it like it held the meaning of life for me. It might have been the moment, or the time in my life, or the fact that our car just broke down. Whatever it was, at that moment it was my holy grail, my magic wand, and door to Narnia all wrapped up in brilliant, sarcastic wit and imagery from one of the greatest writers that science fiction had ever seen. Yaaaas! My inner fangirl in me yelled.
If you know nothing about Galapagos, just know that it is a weird, weird book. Like, Vonnegut was doing mushrooms and had watched FOX news weird. The premise “takes the reader back one million years, to A.D. 1986. A simple vacation cruise suddenly becomes an evolutionary journey. Thanks to an apocalypse, a small group of survivors stranded on the Galápagos Islands are about to become the progenitors of a brave, new, and totally different human race.” It is so weird and so strange that on days when I feel bizarre ennui with my life and with the human race, in general, I know that Vonnegut thought we could evolve into Manatees. And, that is what makes me smile, and I can go about my day. If you want a laugh, or maybe a moment of fresh air from a long forgotten science fiction novel, try Galápagos. Perhaps it will affect you as much as it did me.